San Bernardino, Calif. — Euribiel Angeles paced a 14-hit attack for Lake Elsinore Friday night as the Storm sailed to a 10-2 victory to pull back to .500 on the year. The 19-year-old infielder collected four hits as he spent the whole night working up the middle and the opposite way.
The Storm got on the board quickly when Brandon Valenzuela hit an RBI triple that got through to the right-center fence in the first. In the second, Matt Acosta hit an absolute bomb of a two-run homer over the right field fence before Angeles sliced an RBI single to score catcher Gilberto Vizcarra.
Angeles came back with a two-out, two-run double in the fourth. Up 6-1 in the fifth, Elsinore plated three more on a Vizcarra sacrifice fly, a double by Angel Solarte, and one of the Sixers’ three errors on the night.
Vizcarra capped the scoring with a triple that split the gap in right-center to plate Jarryd Dale in the seventh.
In addition to the homer, Acosta hit a booming double off the wall in deep right-center in the fourth and singled in the fifth. With a chance to hit for the cycle, the University of Southern California product grounded out in the seventh and then bounced into a double play to end the ninth.
The 23-year-old outfielder from nearby Chino Hills nudged his OPS over .800 with the big night.
Angeles, who also looked good on a few tough chances at third base, pushed his average up to .297 for the year.
While the offense rolled, the Storm pitching had just enough to keep Inland Empire off-balance all night. Righty Jesus Lugo, who hadn’t worked since May 20, opened the game with two clean innings. The stocky right-hander worked with an 89-90 mph fastball and a curve that showed good depth, getting four lazy flyballs to open the game before notching his only strikeout and a groundout to finish his night after 26 pitches.
Gabriel Morales followed and, while he showed some solid pitches, had mixed results as he labored through 2.1 innings. The 6-foot-3 lefty mowed down the first five 66’ers he faced, working with a fastball that sat 92-94, a downer curve in the mid-70s, and a few change-ups that flashed as a serviceable third pitch. However, with two outs in the fourth, he gave up a homer to straightaway center, then went walk, single, walk to load the bases. Though he escaped further damage with his fourth strikeout of the night, he clearly looked out of sorts after the blast.
The 22-year-old Venezuelan gave up a leadoff walk in the fifth and one out later, surrendered a lined single to left before giving way. He finished the night having allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks, though he did strike out five.
Countryman Jose Garcia came on and held the hosts in check for 3.2 innings, allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out three. It was easily the 23-year-old lefty’s longest and best outing of the year.
With the game well out of reach, Chase Walter worked around a pair of singles in the ninth. The big righty, who signed as an undrafted free agent last summer, got a late start to the year but has turned in five scoreless outings in his first taste of professional baseball. After he worked up to 99 with a nasty slider against Inland Empire on Tuesday, each of the first four batters Friday swung at the first fastball they got in the zone. With two on and two out, he unleashed three straight sliders, all at 88-89, before inducing a game-ending grounder. He sat 95-96 and hit 97 in the brief outing.
Notes: Both Robert Hassell III and Brandon Valenzuela were held to 1-for-5 nights Friday. Hassell, who missed two starts earlier in the series, legged out a single on a basic grounder to second, then stole his 14th base in 15 attempts. … Joshua Mears went 1-for-3 with a walk and was hit for the eighth time in 142 trips to the plate. Despite the contact issues, the big man has a .373 on-base percentage on the year.