Lake Elsinore, CA - The Lake Elsinore Storm came up short in Sunday's series finale with the Bakersfield Blaze, losing 6-3 to split the four-game set.
Bakersfield started the scoring in the top of the second inning, taking Storm starter Elliot Morris (4-4) deep in back-to-back at-bats to go up 2-0. Those two home runs were the only hits Morris allowed in six innings of work.
Lake Elsinore cut the deficit in half with a run in the bottom of the second. Dane Phillips led off the frame with a single, and Alberth Martinez plated the Storm catcher with an RBI double two batters later.
Morris was matched by Blaze hurler Drew Cisco (W, 5-5), who scattered five hits through five innings to keep the game at 2-1.
The Blaze struck for two more in the top of seventh to take a 4-1 lead, but Lake Elsinore made it a one-run game in the eighth. Benji Gonzalez singled, Gabriel Quintana doubled and Phillips walked to load the bases, and Jeremy Baltz followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2. A wild pitch allowed the runners to advance to second and third, and Martinez collected his second hit of the game by driving an RBI single center.
With just one out and the score 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth, Lake Elsinore had a man on third with Duanel Jones at the plate. Another wild pitch was cause for Phillips to break for the plate to try and tie the game, but the Nacogdoches, Texas native was tagged out just before sliding across the plate. Jones struck out to end the inning, and, after another home run gave the Blaze a 6-3 lead, the Storm went quietly in the home half of the ninth.
Martinez and Jose Rondon had two hits each, and Mallex Smith stole his 70th base of 2014. The loss was Morris' first in a Storm uniform.
After splitting the series with Bakersfield (61-45), Lake Elsinore (61-45) welcome the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes to town for the first of three on Monday night. Bryan Rodriguez (5-6, 4.24 ERA) will start for the Storm while Luis Chirinos will make his California League debut for the Quakes. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05pm, and parking and admission are free as part of Nothing Night.