It didn't look like they would early on.
A fielding miscue in the outfield led to four runs in the top of the first inning. Right fielder Nic Crosta lost a ball in the sunlight with the bases loaded, slipping when he turned to try and make a run at catching it – a double and two RBI's on a play that won't make the boxscore. Freddy Sandoval followed with a two-bagger down the left-field line to plate two more for Rancho.
Rancho piled on three more runs in the third inning – a frame that could have seen the side retired in order. A grounder to second hit the lip of the infield and hopped over Sean Kazmar to start things off. A Kazmar error followed a balk by Josh Geer. After recording the first out, Cody Fuller plated his third run of the game and Drew Toussaint doubled to run up the score to 7-0.
"That is just baseball," manager Rick Renteria said. "There was a lot of baseball left and I don't think anyone thought it was over by any means. You have to keep playing the game.
"If your mentality is your don't than it is."
The Storm scored their first run of the game when Crosta was hit by a pitch with the bases juiced in the bottom half of the third. Chase Headley followed with a single between first and second to score two. Tim Brown and Matt Hagen added RBI's to cut the lead to three.
A triple by Pat Reilly plated a run in the top of the fourth and a passed ball on Matt Hagen allowed run number nine to cross home, opening up a four run lead.
Two walks to open the bottom half of inning four chased Robert Mosebach from the game. Rafael Cruz was beaten to a pulp, yielding lots of juice. The right-hander gave up seven hits, hit a batter, and didn't get out of the inning. Nine runs came in on his watch, two charged to Mosebach, while he recorded two outs. Joe Torres came in and walked the first two batters he faced to load the bases before getting a grounder back to the mound to end the frame. The Storm sent 15 men to the plate with Adam Bourassa, Kazmar and Ciofrone reaching base twice in the inning.
"Keep chipping away," Renteria said of his advice between innings. "The focus and intensity and drive is normal over the whole season. They have taken on a lot of the concepts and are applying it. That is a tribute to them. I am proud of them."
The Storm would bat around for the third time in the game and third inning in a row in the fifth, plating three more runs and leaving the bases loaded.
Yordany Ramirez led off two off those innings with a four pitch walk, plate appearances Renteria pointed to as the turning point.
"If you had to talk about an at bat, Yordany's. Each one led to something. Especially when you have given up a couple runs and are down a few – we need to get baserunners. He set the tone by getting on base and working his at bats. Being ready to hit bt being more selective in his approach. It opened up the door in each particular inning."
Tim Brown's solo homer in the sixth gave them runs in four straight innings and 18 for the game.
Lake Elsinore scored two more in the seventh after Rancho notched one in the top half of the frame for the final tally.
Lake Elsinore is now one game over .500 at the Diamond this year.
"I don't know what it is," Headley said – doing his part on this day with a 2-for-5 day that included four RBI's. "Our pitching has been so good and we have a big yard here. Hopefully we can keep playing well on the road but pick it up here and get in that playoff run. Once you get in the playoffs anything can happen."
While the Lake Elsinore Storm did not take formal batting practice, Nick Hundley took extra swings with hitting coach Tom Tornicasa on Wednesday. With an early game, the team was given some semblance of rest as they prepare for the run to the playoffs.
Arturo Lopez will get the spot start in place of Cesar Ramos. Lopez began the year in Double-A before heading to Mexico where he made five starts. Lopez, a left-hander, started for the Storm last season, going 5-11 with a 5.85 ERA.
It is rare that you see Yordany Ramirez take a bad angle on a ball but it happened on Wednesday and led to a triple.
Don't think Rick Renteria gets into the game? Yordany Ramirez was able to round second and head to third after a failed pickoff attempt. On his way in, Renteria took a belly flop to the ground, simulating a dive, and Ramirez followed suit going into a head first slide – and safe at third. Lake Elsinore would go on to plate nine runs in that inning.
"We needed him to get down," Renteria explained, not wanting to take credit for his willingness to get the jersey dirty as a turning point in the game. "The last thing we needed was for him to end that momentum by getting him thrown out at third base. He went down and I went down."
Nic Crosta was pulled from the game in the bottom of the fourth inning – after doubling in that same inning. He was hit by a pitch in the third and drew a walk in his first at bat. It was not due to injury.
The Storm drew 13 walks on Wednesday and still squeezed out 15 hits in their offensive assault.
"Aggressively patient," Renteria said, noting the Padres' organizational philosophy on hitting. "We were ready to hit until we recognized they weren't good pitches to hit."