Latos debuts; Sogard still humming
Mat Latos
Mat Latos
MadFriars.com
Posted Apr 24, 2008
Denis Savage


With Portland off and San Antonio seeing its game postponed, the Lake Elsinore Storm and Fort Wayne Wizards had the spotlight. Nathan Culp snared the stage with a solid outing and Mike Baxter and the ever present Eric Sogard supplied the lumber. Mat Latos debuted with eight strikeouts, but the offense was nowhere to be seen.

Portland (7-10) had a scheduled day off

San Antonio (9-9) vs. Frisco (Rangers) postponed due to rain

Lake Elsinore (11-9) won 6-1 over High Desert (Mariners)

Both of Mike Baxter’s hits went for extra bases, as his first inning double was the end of three in a row for the Storm. He also tripled, scored twice, knocked in a pair, drew a walk and swiped his third base of the season. The outfielder has six multi-hit games over his last 15 and has drawn more walks (9) than strikeouts (8). Baxter has stolen six straight bases dating back to last year.

Eric Sogard reached base three times, going 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, an RBI and two runs scored, stretching his on-base streak to 17 games. In 20 contests, he has accumulated nine multi-hit games. Not only is Sogard hitting .425, he has drawn 19 walks and boasts a .538 on-base percentage. He has an RBI in three straight games, driving in six over that span and has a .571 average with runners in scoring position. He also has nine hits in 12 at-bats with six walks in the first inning of games.

Nathan Culp worked magic over 6.2 innings, giving up a single run – coming on a solo homer – on seven hits while striking out a pair. He also picked off a runner, recording 12 groundball outs en route to a 2-0 start to the season. The left-hander has given up five runs over his last three outings, but he has allowed seven hits or more in each of his four starts this year, as the opposition is hitting .348 off him. Culp has recorded five double play grounders in the last three games.

Fort Wayne (7-13) lost 5-0 to Clinton (Rangers)

Mat Latos made his season debut, working four innings and allowing three runs, one earned, on five hits while striking out a Wizard season-high eight. He struck out the side around two singles and an error in the third inning. Latos placed third in the Northwest League last year with his 74 strikeouts in 56.1 innings. He posted a 1-4 record with a 3.83 ERA over 16 games, including 13 starts. He struck out eight or more on two occasions, hitting double-digits once.

On a day where the Wizards managed just four hits, it took one swing against Geoff Vandel to put two runs on the board. Those would be the only runs he allowed over three innings, walking one and striking out one. The left-hander has surrendered four home runs in five outings this season and all have come with runners on base. A season ago, he surrendered four all year over 13 starts and three came with the bases empty. The opposition is hitting .348 off him with runners in scoring position.

Jackson Quezada worked one frame, giving up a hit and a walk while netting three groundball outs. The right-hander has a string of eight straight innings without a run allowed and had gone five innings without surrendering a hit. While lefties have a .500 average off him early in the year, he has kept right-handers limited to three hits in 24 at-bats – a .125 average. Quezada has also not allowed a hit to the leadoff batter of an inning.

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OF Mike Baxter (profile)
SP Nathan Culp (profile)
P Mat Latos (profile)
P Jackson Quezada (profile)
2B Eric Sogard (profile)
P Geoff Vandel (profile)
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