LAKE ELSINORE – Rico Garcia (pictured) delivered another strong outing, but the JetHawks failed to provide him with run support in a series-opening 2-1 loss to the Lake Elsinore Storm on Tuesday night at The Diamond.
Garcia (5-4) tied a season-high with eight strikeouts over seven innings of work. He allowed seven hits and walked one batter. It marked his sixth-straight start of six-or-more innings pitched and he increased his league-leading innings pitched total to 62.0.
Lake Elsinore (20-25) scored the go-ahead run in the fourth inning thanks to a Garcia throwing error. With Michael Olivares at third base and one out, Garcia easily fielded a comebacker off the bat of Hudson Potts. Olivares broke for home plate, and Garcia threw the ball to the backstop allowing the runner to score.
Despite multiple opportunities, the JetHawks (22-23) failed to score another run and dropped their third in a row. Despite. Garcia’s success on the mound, he has received the worst run support of any JetHawks starter. They are averaging just 4.4 runs in his starts, down from their season average of 6.1 runs per game.
Vince Fernandez, the reigning Cal League Player of the Week, led off the ninth inning with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch with one out, but Dauris Valdez picked up the final two outs for his third save.
The Storm got on the board in the bottom of the first inning when leadoff-hitter Buddy Reed hit a high, deep fly ball to left-centerfield. Centerfielder Forrest Wall overran the ball and Reed ended up circling the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
The JetHawks scored a run on a Colton Welker sac-fly in the third inning to tie the game.
Here’s the box score.
The series continues Wednesday night with Ty Culbreth (1-0) scheduled to start for Lancaster opposite Michel Baez (0-4). First pitch is 6 p.m. in Lake Elsinore.