Bonine has special outing; Pickens back

LAKE ELSINORE- Manager Rick Renteria had no problem inserting Jordan Pickens into the lineup on Friday. The outfielder was added from the disabled list, replacing Luke Steidlmayer on the roster.

Jordan Pickens has been taking batting practice for the last couple of weeks and Renteria wanted his right-handed power in the lineup and said he has been making good progress. Pickens has been healthy since the start of the postseason but roster spots had been eaten up.

"We are predominately a left-hand hitting team," Renteria noted. "I am very comfortable with him in the order."

Pickens has hit .291 against left-handed pitching this year in 79 at bats with four homers and 17 RBI's. Only two players with 75 or more at bats have better averages against lefties, Fernando Valenzuela Jr. at .302 and Skip Adams at .316.

San Jose starter Jason Waddell has given up 12 hits in 21.2 innings to left-handed bats, and the Storm sport five full-time left-handed bats in Friday's lineup.

As for coming in cold, Renteria mentioned that "he has a lot of experience," referring to his injury history.

Pickens prevented San Jose from hit number two in the top of the ninth with a diving catch in left field for the first out of the inning.

"That was a huge play," Storm starter Eddie Bonine said of Pickens catch. "We played great defense."

The Storm is 51-26 when they score first and just 19-42 when scoring last. They are also 46-13 when leading after five frames and 13-47 when trailing after five.

Bonine' best start of the year against San Jose back on August 3 in San Jose. He tossed seven innings of two run ball, one earned on six hits while whiffing eight. He topped that on Friday.

When he was pulled out of the game in the top of the ninth he was a little upset.

"That is the competitor in you," Bonine admitted. "It was ‘Light's Out' Leo (Rosales) coming in behind me so I was confident."

Bonine is one of 68 players who will go to the Instructional Leagues this fall and was dialed in for Friday's game, hitting 93 on the radar gun in the third inning. He is routinely between 87 and 90.

"I was amped up a little bit so it might have got up there," Bonine said.

"Outstanding," pitching coach Dave Rajisch said. "That was very impressive and a joy to watch."

Other members of the Storm on the roster who will make the trek to Arizona for Instructs include Ryan Klatt, Brett Bonvechio, Juan Ciriaco, Drew Macias and Cesar Carrillo.

Ciriaco made a spectacular diving stab of a ball behind the second base bag in inning two and tossed out Travis Ishikawa by a nose for the final out of the inning.

Brett Dowdy talked before the game about Juan Ciriaco's high error totals because of his range, getting to balls that other fielders would not even come close to. Dowdy showed his range in the sixth and, ironically, committed an error after ranging to his left and having the ball short hop him. It was the first error of the postseason for the Storm.

Dowdy also talked about being more aggressive and it paid off on Friday when his attempted steal of second turned into a run scored after an error on the shortstop allowed him to reach third and an error on the centerfielder allowed him to score.

After the game, Dowdy said, "You jinxed me. After the play I thought about our talk." I added, "But you were more aggressive on the basepaths and scored."

The motto after the game was "one more" as the team was slated to board a bus to San Jose.

"We only have to win one, close them out right away," Bonine said. "It is a good feeling. This doesn't mean anything until we win that last one."

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