Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. – On a rainy opening night, the Lake Elsinore Storm sprinted out to a four-run lead in the first and then held on for a 4-2 win to claim their first victory at Rancho since August, 2014.
The first inning went as well as anyone with the club could have hoped. Franchy Cordero lined a single the other way, Luis Urias smacked a single to right, and then Javier Guerra hit a ball sharply to the left-center alley.
Quakes left fielder Andrew Toles misread the English on the ball and allowed it to short-hop the wall for a two-run double. Trae Santos followed with a full-count walk before Franmil Reyes made the first out of the season.
Fernando Perez, who got the start at third base to open his repeat season in the Cal League jumped on the first pitch he saw for a booming double to the right field corner to plate Guerra and then Edwin Moreno hit a sac fly to score the fourth run.
“That approach is something the guys have been working on,” said Storm manager Francisco Morales. “Oaks had some good success against us last year in the Midwest League, so the plan was to attack and use the whole field.”
After that auspicious beginning though, the offense went quiet, managing only two singles the rest of the night.
On the mound, Dinelson Lamet showed some of the upside that has the organization excited about him, but also his rough edges. The 23-year-old righty’s fastball sat in the mid-90s with his fastball and had good action on his slider some of the time. But he also struggled to find his spots in the zone several times.
Lamet was charged with two runs in four innings on three hits, two walks and a hit batter. He struck out four. His fastball sat at 93-94, with a few higher readings scattered in. He also flashed his strong slider, using it in all counts, and used his change once for a key groundout.
“He missed some on the arm-side,” said Morales. “But it’s the first game of the year.”
Lamet reached 75 pitches after only four innings which led to an early night for him. The organization will continue to manage his workloads after he logged 105 innings in his stateside debut last year.
Chris Huffman, who worked as a starter in Fort Wayne last year, struck out three in two scoreless innings of relief, showing a bit more velocity than he had in the rotation.
Lefty Jose Torres made his system debut after coming over from Oakland in the Drew Pomeranz trade this winter. The 22-year-old’s slingshot delivery had Quakes hitters off-balance through a quick inning that included a pair of strikeouts.
Colby Blueberg picked up his first save of the year, working two innings as he often did for the TinCaps.