Lake Elsinore — The Storm were already facing a diminished lineup before Jordy Barley was scratched less than an hour before first pitch. By the time his name was announced in the Daniel Hudson deal three-plus hours later, Fresno was finishing up a 3-2 victory over the home team.
With Euribiel Angeles still on the shelf with a sore throwing shoulder, Barley’s absence left the Storm relying on an infield with all four players pushed out of their best spots. That configuration cost Elsinore two of the three Grizzlies runs.
Jesus Lugo, who worked quickly through a season-high six innings, gave up a single to Zac Veen and double to Ezequiel Tovar in the first to fall behind 1-0 quickly. Tovar stole third and when Carlos Luis couldn’t handle a short-hop throw, came around to score.
The 23-year-old righty sailed through the next two innings, but was tagged for another unearned run in the fourth after Luis and first baseman Matt Acosta each committed throwing errors. While the Storm threatened several times, they never pulled even in the contest.
Lugo worked with a cutter up to 91 and a slider with similar action in the mid-80s, largely keeping Fresno away from solid contact. In his first season stateside, the native of the Dominican Republic who signed during the 2018-19 international free agency period, has struck out 42 through 35.2 innings of work and held opponents to a respectable .255 average. While his stuff isn’t as advanced as his cousin, Moises who pitches for Fort Wayne, Jesus has had just one bad outing since returning from a minor injury in mid-June.
While Lugo worked around his defense, Grizzlies Austin Kitchen and three other relievers kept Lake Elsinore in check throughout the night. Angel Solarte singled and scored the Storm’s first run on a pair of ground outs in the second inning.
The Storm didn’t really threaten again until Sean Guilbe and Gilberto Vizcarra singled with two outs in the fifth, but they were stranded there. Ten straight Elsinore batters went down until Robert Hassell III singled to open the ninth. Brandon Valenzuela followed with his second double of the night to move his OPS for the month up to .882 and Angeles replaced him as the tying runner. Solarte walked to load the bases, but Jarryd Dale‘s sacrifice fly was all the home club to muster before a game-ending double play.
Notes: Angeles’s availability to pinch-run is a positive sign. He and Joshua Mears are both getting close to ready to hit, but neither has done any defensive work at game speed yet. They both could see the field again in the next week. … Pitchers Luarbert Arias and Bodi Rascon have both joined the Storm and should make their debuts in the coming days. Arias has been working two-inning stints in the desert and will likely continue to do so out of the Elsinore bullpen. Rascon, who was piggybacking in Peoria, will probably keep stretching out to bolster the Storm rotation.