Another early Lake Elsinore Storm lead disappeared Thursday night, losing 12-9 as the Eyes failed to avoid the sweep at the hands of the Inland Empire 66ers.
Lake Elsinore put up three runs in the first to take an early lead. Alberth Martinez and Luis Domoromo both singled with one out to put two men on, and after a fielder’s choice put runners at the corners, a wild pitch allowed Martinez to score. A walk to Gabriel Quintana brought up Jeremy Baltz, who double to left to plate two and make it 3-0.
But Inland Empire, who is now a winner of seven straight, answered in the bottom of the first. The 66ers got to Storm starter Bryan Rodriguez (L, 6-8) for two in the home half of the opening frame.
After a scoreless second, Inland Empire went on to score six unanswered runs. They plated a run in the third, two in the fourth and three in the sixth to lead 8-3.
A three-run Storm seventh was negated by four runs for the 66ers in the bottom of the frame, and a three-run Storm eighth proved not enough to overcome Inland Empire.
Mallex Smith finished the night 3 for 4 with 2 RBI and a run scored, and Baltz went 3 for 5 with 2 RBI and a run scored.
The loss drops Lake Elsinore (26-27) into fourth place in the California League South with 17 to play, but only two games separate the Storm from the top of the division.
Today marks the start of a four-game series with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. First pitch at LoanMart Field is set for 7:05pm.