Storm can’t find an answer late; lose 4-3

The Lake Elsinore Storm fell behind early and couldn’t muster a comeback Wednesday night, losing 4-3 to the High Desert Mavericks in game two of a three game series.

Storm starter Bryan Rodriguez (L, 0-4) struggled to find his command in what would be his shortest outing of the season. The righty gave up three runs on three hits, two walks and a balk through the first two innings, allowing High Desert to jump out to an early 3-0 lead.

A High Desert error opened the door for a Storm score in the third. Jeremy Baltz reached on shortstop Tyler Smith’s miscue and Hunter Renfroe followed with his thirteenth double of the season, plating Baltz and cutting the Mavericks lead to two.

Rodriguez would allow another run in the fourth, and was removed prior to the start of the fifth in favor of Cody Hebner. The Auburn, WA product worked two shutout innings to keep Lake Elsinore in the game, while Adam Cimber and Brandon Alger continued what Hebner started with a combined three innings of scoreless relief.

The Storm added two in the fifth to close the gap to one run. John Nester led off the inning with his eighth double of 2014, and Alberth Martinez unleashed a 397-foot blast in the next at-bat for his fifth home run of the season. Martinez has now hit safely in six straight games.

Despite the homer, Lake Elsinore couldn’t continue the momentum in the remainder of the game. Storm hitters went one for seventeen in the subsequent innings and came up just short on multiple would-be rallies to fall 4-3.

The rubber game is set for tonight at 7:05pm, as Wednesday’s birthday boy Joe Ross (4-2, 2.57 ERA) opposes Jochi Ogando (1-1, 1.80 ERA) on Thirsty Thursday at The Diamond. Gates open at 6:00pm.

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