For the second night in a row, the Lake Elsinore Storm claimed a walk-off victory over the Modesto Nuts, topping the Rockies' affiliate 6-5.
After going to extra innings Wednesday, the Storm appeared to be on track to repeat that tonight after they gave back a four run lead in the seventh and eighth innings. But catcher Ricardo Valenzuela, who finished the night 3-for-4, opened the ninth with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Edwin Moreno.
That brought up Chase Jensen, who already had a single and double in four at-bats. The Riverside native, who filled in in center for Michael Gettys again this evening, jumped a fastball and yanked it into the left field corner to allow Valenzuela to score uncontested.
The Nuts' late comeback meant that Chris Huffman's strong performance didn't hold up for a victory. The 23-year-old righty went into the eighth inning having given up only a pair of runs and appeared to be on his way to moving into a tie for the Cal League lead in victories. But after a pair of one-out singles in the eighth, he gave way to Jose Castillo to face Rockies prospect Forrest Wall, a left-handed hitter
Castillo promptly walked Wall and then Josh Fuentes smacked a double just inside the line to clear the bases and tie the game. Castillo came back with a strikeout and groundout to get out of the frame, and worked a scoreless ninth to pick up the victory after the blown save.
The big lefty, still just 20 years old at the end of his second season in the organization after coming over with Wil Myers from Tampa, has posted a 2.08 ERA across three levels in an injury-shortened campaign. He sat 92-94 Thursday night with a slider that still flashes well above average.
In addition to Valenzuela and Jensen, the offensive star of the night was, once again, Luis Urias. The 19-year-old had a bases-clearing triple in the fifth to go along with a double and two walks on the night. He extended his league-leading average to .331 and nudged his on-base percentage up to .400.
In addition to the obvious numbers in the box score, Urias continues to show remarkable baseball acumen every time we see him. After the triple, he tagged up to score on a sacrifice fly by Ty France, timing his departure from the base perfectly. In the field, he showed great range to his left on several balls, and also lined up effectively in a pronounced one-man shift several times.
NOTES: Gettys is sidelined with a minor shoulder issue. He's expected to be back in the lineup before the end of the season. ... Franmil Reyes extended his hitting streak to 13 games. The big man has hit in 19 of the last 20, raising his batting average 20 points in the process. ... It's been a so-so season for Edwin Moreno, but the left-handed outfielder still has plenty of tools. He showed off his arm from left, almost doubling a runner off first on a routine fly ball, and rifled a single to right in the middle of the Storm's four-run fifth inning.