The Storm failed to score first for the third consecutive night on Thursday, falling behind early and coming up just short in the ninth inning in a 3-2 loss at the hands of the Lancaster JetHawks.
San Diego Padres right hander Casey Kelly made his second rehab start with Lake Elsinore, going 4.2 innings and allowing two runs on eight hits.
Down 1-0 heading into the bottom of the second, the Storm responded with a run to tie the game. Diego Goris led off with his tenth double of the season and was promptly moved to third after Hunter Renfroe grounded out. Luis Domoromo lifted one to left that was deep enough to plate Goris on a sacrifice fly.
The tie was short lived. Lancaster scored again in the third on back-to-back hits from Tony Kemp and Teoscar Hernandez.
After a scoreless third and fourth, Lake Elsinore scratched one across in the fifth. Renfroe reached on an infield single and advanced to second thanks to a ground out. An error put runners on the corners for Jeremy Rodriguez, who laced his second single of the night into left to plate Renfroe.
Kelly was replaced by Cody Hebner in the fifth. The hard-throwing righty cruised through 1.1 innings but ran into trouble in the seventh. Consecutive walks put two ‘Hawks aboard with no one out, and a sacrifice bunt put both men in scoring position. Brandon Alger was called upon to try and prevent any damage, but a swinging bunt that stayed fair by just two inches allowed the runner to score from third.
Alger and Trevor Gott kept Lancaster off the board in the eighth and ninth, setting the table for a Storm rally in the bottom of the final frame. Goris led off with a single but was eliminated after Renfroe reached on a fielder’s choice. Domoromo walked in the next at-bat to put two men on, but both were stranded after consecutive strikeouts ended the game.
Second baseman Benji Gonzalez had another multi-hit night, collecting three knocks to raise his average to .389. Goris’ two hits improved his season mark to .330. Chase Headley, who got the start at third in his third rehab appearance with the Storm, was hitless in two at-bats with one walk.
With the loss, the Storm (20-15) fall to second place in the South standings. Lancaster continued their success at The Diamond, winning their sixth of eight games played in Lake Elsinore.
The home stand continues tonight as the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes visit The Diamond for the first time this season.
Bryan Rodriguez (0-2, 2.43 ERA) will oppose Chris Anderson (2-2, 4.25 ERA). First pitch is slated for 7:05pm.