Lake Elsinore shutout Visalia 4-0 on strength of Aaron Leasher’s pitching

EVT Sports

Credit: LE Storm

The Diamond- Lake Elsinore

Tonight the Storm (14-19) were in their Cadejos uniforms and faced off against the Visalia Rawhide (23-10), the Class-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Twenty-three-year-old lefty Aaron Leasher started on the mound for the Storm, he came into the game with an 0-4 record and 5.84 ERA in his first six appearances. Facing off against him was Matt Mercer, the Diamondbacks number twenty-five prospects, who entered Thursday’s action 1-0 with a 4.15 ERA in his first five starts.

Leasher got the game started with a spotless quick inning, first inducing a popup down the right field line that was snagged by second baseman Esteury Ruiz, who narrowly avoided a collision with Jack Suwinski running in from right field. He then retired the next two batters, left fielder Mark Karaviotis and right fielder Yoel Yanqui, on swinging strikeouts to end the top half of the first.

Mercer kept the game rolling in the bottom of the inning with back-to-back fly outs from Storm left fielder Robbie Podorsky and third baseman Allen Cordoba before tonight’s designated hitter Luis Campusano went down swinging.

Visalia had two base runners reach in the top of the second with designated hitter Renae Martinez singling on a hard line drive to center that was followed up by first baseman LT Tolbert reaching on a fielder’s choice to Storm shortstop Gabriel Arias. Second baseman Camden Duzenack ended the inning with a ground out to Cordoba at third.

The first base runner of the night for the Storm came with one out in the bottom half of the inning when right fielder Jack Suwinski singled to right. Suwinski wasn’t able to advance past first as center fielder Nate Easley struck out looking on a high fastball and catcher Jalen Washington went down swinging on a full count.

Coming up with one out in the third, Ruiz got the Storm’s second hit of the night with a hard hit single between first and second. Podorsky followed that up with a drag bunt down the first base line that advanced Ruiz to second as Podorsky attempted to jump and dive out of the way of the tag. Ruiz then took third on a wild pitch from Mercer but was left stranded when Cordoba was caught looking on a called third strike.

The bats finally came through for the Storm in the bottom half of the fourth when four runs came around to score.

The inning started with back-to-back singles from Campusano and Arias. With runners on first and third and no one out, Jack Suwinski hit into a fielders choice to second that drove in Campusano from third for the game’s first run.

Matt Mercer then loaded the bases with consecutive walks to Easley and Washington before he managed to punch out Olivier Basabe looking. Following the strikeout, Mercer was lifted for Justin Vernia who immediately surrendered a single to Ruiz that drove in Suwinski and Easley for Lake Elsinore’s second and third runs.

One more run would come around to score in the inning on a single by Podorsky with two outs. He managed to drive in Washington, but Ruiz was thrown out at the plate to end the inning and keep the Storm’s lead at four.

Leasher continued his scoreless start into the seventh inning where he got the first two batters out on a 6-3 ground out and a swinging strikeout of Anfernee Grier before he was lifted with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. J.C. Cosme came in to relieve him and allowed a single before striking out Rawhide third baseman Alex King to get out of the frame.

Cosme got into a little bit of trouble with two outs in the eighth after Karaviotis reached on a fielding error by Cordoba at third. Cosme seemed to lose his arm side command as he walked right fielder Yanqui to put runners on first and second with two down before he recovered and got Martinez to fly out to shallow right field.

In the end, the four-run outburst in the fourth inning was all the Storm needed. left-handed pitcher Fred Schlichtholz came in for the ninth and retired three consecutive batters including after walking Tolbert to lead off the inning

Injury Update:

Following the game, EVT talked to tonight’s starter Aaron Leasher about his apparent hamstring issue. Leasher stated that his hamstring was feeling “a little tight but everything’s alright.” The Storm did have Cosme warming up in the pen at the time Leasher was removed and Leasher said that his removal was precautionary. This was one of the longest starts of Leasher’s career thus far, both in terms of innings pitched and pitch count, Leasher reported his “arm felt great, you work in spring training and everything to get to that pitch count, so it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.” The hamstring does not appear to be a concern going forward.

Notables:

Aaron Leasher: 6.2 IP, 3 H, BB, 6 K (97 pitches, 63 strikes)

J.C. Cosme: 1.1 IP, H, BB, K (33 pitches, 21 strikes)

Robbie Podorsky; (1-3) RBI

Luis Campusano: (1-4) SO

Esteury Ruiz: (2-2) 2 RBI, BB, SB

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Bradley Garland
Growing up in Dodgers country, Bradley would proudly display his Padres fandom through the roughest years of non competitiveness and rebuilding. With the Padres on the verge of contending, he’s excited to get the opportunity to cover them on a regular basis along with their minor league system.

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