Lake Elsinore, CA – A day after a huge walk-off win in front of one of the biggest crowds of the season, the Storm failed to capitalize on the momentum, losing 9-3 Sunday night to the Lancaster JetHawks.
RHP Zech Lemond took the mound, in hopes of turning his luck around. The 2014 3rd rounder had an ERA of 8.03 in five June starts. Lemond looked good in the first inning, retiring the first two hitters. After allowing a single to JetHawks left fielder Derek Fisher, Fisher stole second and advanced to third on an errant throw by Storm catcher Ryan Miller. After allowing a walk to the next hitter, Lemond battled back with a strikeout to end the inning.
The second inning wasn’t as kind to Lemond, as the first batter led off with a double. The next hitter, JetHawks left fielder Brian Holberton hit a grounder to short. Storm shortstop Chase Jensen threw the first for the out, but Lake Elsinore first baseman Yale Rosen dropped the routine throw to allow the runner to reach safely. A few batters later, Lemond served up a two-run double to put Lancaster ahead, 3-0.
Lemond allowed three more runs in the third inning, including two doubles. Lemond displayed good stuff --- his fastball sat at 90-93, but he seemed to leave his breaking ball up in the zone, which lead to Lancaster tagging him for eight runs (six earned). Lemond also allowed five doubles in his four innings of work.
Trailing 8-0 in the fourth, the Storm got on the board, thanks to left fielder Nick Schulz. Schulz slammed a fastball over the left-center field wall, for a two-run shot to put Lake Elsinore on the board. While the Storm had a rough night, Schulz had one of his better games of the year, going 3-for-3, with a homer, two RBI and a walk. Schulz is hitting .343 over his last 10 games, and for the year the San Jose State produced has produced a slash-line of .240/.373/.364. Schulz is also second in the California League with 47 walks.
With the score 9-3 in the ninth, the Storm sent catcher Ricardo Valenzuela to pitch. Valenzuela has actually pitched in 14 games in his professional career, and he spun a scoreless frame with a walk and a strikeout.
The Storm will finish their three-game series with Lancaster tomorrow evening at The Diamond.