Lake Elsinore, CA - The Lake Elsinore Storm struggled to put runs on the board Thursday night, losing 9-2 to the Bakersfield Blaze despite tallying ten hits.
After two scoreless innings, the Blaze struck for three runs in the top of the third. Storm starter Zach Eflin (L, 9-6) allowed three hits in the frame, but the righty was victimized by subpar defense to give Bakersfield an early lead.
Lake Elsinore answered with a run in the bottom of the inning. Mallex Smith walked and promptly stole second. Storm newcomer Jose Rondon plated Smith with a single in the next at-bat.
But the Blaze responded with another score in the fourth, and went on to add runs in the fifth, seventh and ninth to take a 9-2 lead.
The Storm bats stayed quiet after the fourth, and the Eyes finished the game 3-13 with runners in scoring position. Bakersfield pitching retired twelve of the fourteen batters faced from the fifth until the eighth to secure the victory.
Alberth Martinez led the way on offense for Lake Elsinore (59-44), going three for four in game one of a four-game set. Smith and Gabriel Quintana recorded two hits apiece.
Colin Rea (8-5, 3.64 ERA) takes the hill for the Storm tomorrow night, while Dan Wright (6-3, 4.70 ERA) will go for the Blaze (60-43). First pitch is set for 7:05pm.