RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. - In his final start before participating in the Futures Game in Cleveland, OH on Sunday, Storm All-Star MacKenzie Gore pitched seven innings for the first time in his professional career, throwing 93 pitches while allowing no runs on three hits. The 20-year-old from Whiteville, NC struck out nine, walked three and lowered his ERA to 1.02 in 15 starts. Instead of improving his record to 8-1 on the season Gore ended up getting a no-decision as the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth to defeat Lake Elsinore, 2-1, at LoanMart Field.
The marquee matchup included Quakes RHP Josiah Gray, who threw 6.2 IP of shutout ball to help keep the game scoreless through seven innings. With one out in the eighth, the Storm drew back-to-back walks from LHP reliever Bryan Warzek to set the stage for 3B Eguy Rosario, now riding a team-best 12-game hitting streak. With two outs, Rosario singled to left field to score CF Jeisson Rosario from second base, giving the Storm a 1-0 lead and putting Gore in line for the victory.
To begin the bottom of the eighth, RHP reliever Blake Rogers hit a batter and then allowed a hit-and-run single by lead-off hitter Donovan Casey that put runners on the corners. Rogers induced a groundout to third, followed by a strikeout with the infield in, before getting cleanup hitter Nike Hulsizer to ground out to short to keep the Storm in front heading to the ninth.
Still up 1-0, the Padres' affiliate brought in RHP Jordan Guerrero for the potential save. Coming off an impressive performance with six consecutive strikeouts in two innings of relief on Friday, Guerrero struck out the first batter he faced before a fielding error started a Quakes rally. A single to right by SS Deacon Liput put runners at first and third, bringing up 3B Miguel Vargas, making his California League debut. Vargas hit a two-strike pitch for a double to left that scored two runs as Rancho celebrated the walk-off win.
The Storm, who have lost three straight and four of five, are 7-6 in the second half, now two games back of Lancaster in the South Division.
LHP MacKenzie Gore: Seven innings, zero runs (9 ER in 15 starts), nine strikeouts (110 Ks in 79.1 IP)
1B Olivier Basabe: 3-4, one stolen base (5-5 on the season)
SS Allen Cordoba: 2-4, one double (12), six-game hitting streak
3B Eguy Rosario: 1-4, one RBI (31), team-best 12-game hitting streak
WP: Wes Helsabeck (5-0)
LP: Jordan Guerrero (0-3)
On Wednesday, July 3 at 7:05pm Storm RHP Luis Patino will be opposed by RHP Andre Jackson in the final game of the three-game series. Patino, the talented teenager from Barranquilla, Columbia, will join Gore for the Futures Game in Cleveland on Sunday, July 7. Lake Elsinore will return to The Diamond on July 4 to celebrate Independence Day and begin a six-game home stand. For the best available seats buy online at stormbaseball.com or call 951-245-4487.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.