Lake Elsinore won 7-6 over San Jose in 10 innings [lead best-of-five, 1-0]
After grounding out with two outs and runners on second and third in the fifth inning, down by three, Mike Baxter delivered the biggest hit of the year in the bottom of the seventh, cracking a bases loaded double to clear the bags and tie the score at 6-6 heading into the eighth inning.
Baxter went 5-for-15 over two leagues with the bases packed during the regular season, collecting 12 RBIs. Baxter’s nine RBIs during his first eight playoff games bested his totals for June and July while matching his RBI total over 25 games in August.
It is the third time this season that he has collected two doubles in a game, but his third double to open up the tenth inning lead to the game-winning run. Jose Lobaton lined a one-out single to plate Baxter and end the game in celebration.
“I know I can hit a ball over a fence,” said Baxter. “It is translating it into a game. I have power in my frame and it will come in time. I have to be a more consistent hitter over the course of a year for that to happen.”
After allowing one run on four hits over the first four frames, Steve Garrison got into trouble in the fifth inning. Six straight batters reached base via five singles and an error before the right-hander was taken out of the game.
The bullpen wound up working six scoreless innings.
Richie Daigle came on and stranded one of the two runners he inherited, working three crucial scoreless innings to give the Storm a chance. Daigle had allowed five runs over his first 6.2 playoff innings. Ernesto Frieri struck out the side around a single and has fanned 12 over 6.1 innings in the postseason.
R.J. Rodriguez (1-0) blanked San Jose over two innings to pick up the win. The right-hander has not allowed a run over six appearances in the postseason and 8.2 innings, yielding just two hits over that span.