Going to extra innings without a hit is a rarity. Lake Elsinore did it Wednesday, but came up short, losing 3-1 in 10 innings against the Lancaster JetHawks and being no-hit for the first time all season.
No hits – a day after pounding out 14.
“Same lineup. That’s the way baseball is,” said Storm manager Carlos Lezcano. “We almost won the game without getting a hit. That would have been huge, but we just – I don’t know what to tell you.”
It was the first no-hitter in Lancaster’s 15-year history and only the third the Storm has ever suffered. It took five pitchers to get it done, making it only the ninth combined no-hitter in the California League since its 1941 founding.
Lancaster starter Robert Donovan pitched 5 2/3 innings. Edwin Walker pitched 1 1/3. David Berner, who nearly lost the game despite keeping the no-hitter alive, faced three batters but didn’t record an out.
David Carpenter will go down as the man of the hour, or more appropriately, the man of the inning.
Down 1-0, Lake Elsinore broke through with a run in the eighth – not with a hit, but with some patience at the plate and a couple breaks.
Jesus Lopez began the inning by drawing a walk off Berner. Robert Lara sacrificed Lopez to second on a bunt but was standing on first after Berner threw the ball away, giving Lake Elsinore men at first and second with no out.
Berner’s troubles continued when he again misplayed a ball on Brad Chalk’s sacrifice bunt. Lopez scored and again Lake Elsinore had two on with no out.
That was the end for Berner. It was also the end for the Storm – from a scoring standpoint.
Carpenter (1-1) replaced Berner on the mound. After intentionally walking Daniel Robertson, he struck out Cole Figueroa and ended the threat on a double play, fielding the ball himself to nail Bo Davis – running for Lara – at home and Oscar Salazar at first.
“It was the biggest play of the game,” said JetHawks manager Tom Lawless of the double play. “They get the bases loaded, all they have to do is put the ball in play and they’re gonna score a run.
“You’ve got to tip your hat to Carpenter who came in and just went right after the hitters – was aggressive and went right after Figueroa and got him to strike out and then got the double play ball. So, he’ll remember that one for a while.”
Jose Trinidad earned the save (1) in completing the job.
It was a strange game – not just in how it ended offensively for the Storm, but how it began offensively for Lancaster.
Leading off the fifth, David Flores homered to left to give the JetHawks a 1-0 lead. Not everyone thought it should have counted.
“I didn’t see it,” Flores said. “We don’t have a good angle up there … When I got back to the dugout some guys said it was foul, some guys said it was fair. The umpire said it was fair, so …”
The homer was one of only four hits allowed by Storm starter Jeremy McBryde, who pitched eight solid innings and struck out four. Brad Brach (5-2) pitched a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation, but allowed two runs on three hits – a single to Jonathan Villar and doubles to David Flores and Bryce Lane – in the 10th to take the loss.
“You give up one run in eight innings, you should win,” Lezcano said of McBryde. “But, you know, we got no hits … it cost us the game.”
James Palen is a regular contributor to SWRNN.com and can be reached at email@example.com or at 951-234-0704.