The Storm had an Arnold Schwarzenegger promotion Thursday night, but Lake Elsinore could not match the muscle displayed by the Bakersfield Blaze. The Blaze used a ten-hit attack, including five extra-base hits to defeat Lake Elsinore 11-5, at the Lake Elsinore Diamond. Bakersfield cruised to a three-game sweep, in which they outscored the Storm, 30-9.
Early on, it seemed like Storm starter Kyle Lloyd had his stuff working. Lloyd got out of the first unscathed, and seemed to be cruising in the second, before the split-finger specialist allowed a home run. Lloyd still managed to strike out four through his first two innings of work.
The Storm loaded the bases in the second inning. Second baseman Fernando Perez drew a one-out walk. Catcher Miguel Del Castillo singled and Donavan Tate drew a walk. After a strikeout by Auston Bousfield, shortstop Chase Jensen cleared the bases with a booming triple that smacked off the left center field wall.
In the top of the third, Bakersfield took advantage of some shoddy Storm defense. Third baseman Gabriel Quintana threw away a routine grounder to start the inning. After a walk, the Blaze played small-ball, utilizing a sacrifice bunt and later a sacrifice fly to pull within a run.
Lloyd could not limit the damage with just the run, as Bakersfield used a pair of doubles, one from top prospect Austin Wilson, and took a 4-3 lead.
Bakersfield added a run in the fifth, and delivered the knock-out blow to starter Kyle Lloyd in the sixth. Lloyd allowed a walk and hit a batter to start the inning. After recording a flyout, Lloyd allowed a two-run triple to Bakersfield shortstop Rayder Ascanio. Lloyd took the loss for the Storm, allowing eight runs (five earned) in 5.1 innings of work.
“Lloyd had that one inning an error started the inning, but he walked the next hitter. That kind of turned itself into a big inning. The walk is something that we can control. I don’t know if he necessarily got tired, as much as they made adjustments. Early on, he got ahead with a first pitch fastball. The second time around, especially the middle-of-the-order looked like they were trying to jump on that first pitch,” said Storm manager Michael Collins.
The Storm made things interesting, with runs in the sixth and seventh innings. In the sixth, Nick Torres doubled into the left-center gap, and later scored on an RBI groundout from Gabriel Quintana. The double for Torres was his 41st of the season, between Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore.
Bakersfield scored two more times in the eighth to end any momentum the Storm had. Relief pitcher Cecil Tanner came in and walked the first two hitters he faced. He was promptly replaced by Jason Jester. After a strikeout, Jester allowed an RBI single, and a run scoring groundout.
“Tanner was coming off an outing where he walked a guy and hit a guy. After an outing like that, we try to give him an opportunity, but with the game being close, we turned it over to Jester,” said Collins.
The Storm went down in order in the ninth inning; with the game ending on an Auston Bousfield strikeout. The loss dropped the Storm to 43-73 on the season. The team will open up a series on the road tomorrow at Rancho Cucamonga.