Lobaton saves Lake Elsinore from being no-hit
Jose Lobaton

Posted May 27, 2006


Without Jose Lobaton, a defensive replacement for Rob Bowen, the Storm may have fell victim to Greg Smith and his bid for a no-hitter. John Hudgins is almost human – giving up three hits in a win. Will Venable and Mike Sansoe account for six of the eight Fort Wayne hits.

Portland’s game was suspended due to rain

Mobile won 5-2 over Montgomery (Devil Rays)

After giving up four hits over his first two starts, John Hudgins was touched for three hits and a run in start number three for Mobile. The right-hander also walked six batters and tossed a wild pitch in five innings of work, earning the win. Hudgins hadn’t walked more than two in any outing this year and the only time he has walked five or more came on May 20, 2005 while he was with Oklahoma of the PCL.

George Kottaras went 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and two walks in his first game of the year as a designated hitter. Kottaras has now walked more times than he has struck out at home, 18 to 17, as opposed to 11 walks and 25 K’s on the road. He has been on base in nine straight games and has four multi-hit games over his last seven. Kottaras is hitting .333 off right-handed pitching this season.

Breaking out of a 2-for-28 slump, Drew Macias went 2-for-4 with a double. Macias is hitting .260 this month after a .307 month of April. The outfielder played in his fourth game in centerfield on Friday. He has spent the majority of his time in left field. He is hitting .343 off righties but has just five hits in 40 at bats against lefties.

Lake Elsinore were one-hit in a loss 4-0 to Lancaster (Diamondbacks)

A big thank you to Jose Lobaton from the rest of the Storm hitters. The catcher came in as a defensive replacement for Rob Bowen in the seventh inning and it was his double with one out in the ninth that broke up a no-hitter from left-hander Greg Smith. Lobaton has a hit in eight of his last ten games. After going 1-for-16 to begin the year, Lobaton is 16-for-53, a .302 average.

"The last time I started we were at their place," Smith said of the Storm, "and they hit a bunch of balls hard off me, Morton and Kazmar both hit balls out. They're a good team."

A second inning play threw Smith off the scent off the no hitter. A ground ball to third hit the bag and was initially ruled a hit. Later it would be changed to an error.

"I really had no idea. After that play I was just thinking about keeping them to one hit and throwing strikes. I never even thought about it, because in my mind the ball hit the bag, that makes it a tough play."

So when did he know?

"I didn't realize it until after that ball," Smith said of the one out double in the ninth inning, "I looked up at the scoreboard and saw them taking down the 0 and putting up the 1 and I just thought, 'You gotta be kidding me.'"

Bowen, in Lake Elsinore on a rehab assignment, went 0-for-3.

Chris Jaile made his first start of the year, going four innings and allowing two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out five. Jaile had made 15 appearances out of the pen, giving up24 hits and 14 walks in 22 innings. His longest outing of the year coming into the game had been three innings. Jaile made 13 starts for Bakersfield last year, going 2-3 with a 4.26 ERA over 63.1 innings.

Richie Daigle pitched a perfect inning of relief, his fourth no-hit outing of the year, on Friday and has given up runs in five of his 15 outings. Just one of the earned runs have come at The Diamond in Lake Elsinore. The right-hander has posted a 1.88 ERA over 11 May appearances after a 1.04 mark in April. Daigle and earned runs have a correlation – in the five games he has issued a walk, four times an earned run has crossed the plate.

Fort Wayne lost 5-3 to Lansing (Blue Jays)

Mike Sansoe and Will Venable accounted for six of the Wizards eight hits.

Sansoe went 3-for-5 with a run scored and his team leading tenth stolen base. He was, however, also picked off third base in the fourth inning. Sansoe has been on base in all but two of the 19 games he has played for Fort Wayne with Friday marking his first three-hit game of the season and fifth multi-hit affair. A right-handed hitter, he is batting .371 off lefties but just .189 off righties.

Venable also contributed three hits in five at bats, adding a double and two RBI’s. He now has four multi-hit games in the last seven after netting one such game over his previous 15 games. His two RBI’s match the total he had over his previous 14 games. The left fielder is batting .222 with runners in scoring position.

Brandon Higelin allowed his second homer of the year in two innings of work, a solo shot. Higelin has given up runs in three of his last four outings after surrendering runs in two of his first 15. He recorded five of the six outs by way of the strikeout. It marked the fourth time this year he has whiffed four or more in two innings or less. The opposition has hit .170 off him this year and he has 33 K’s in 26.1 innings.

Special thanks to James Renwick of FutureBacks.com for the timely quotes from Greg Smith.


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