With their playoff seed already determined, the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts knew they could use their last three regular season games as an opportunity to experiment with lineups and fine-tune their pitching.
They started strong in the first of those efforts Monday against the Alexandria Aces but faltered, falling 5-2 in a rain-shortened game.
The Thunderbolts struck first against Noah Short, as Tony Gallo drove in Cole Friese on a sacrifice fly in the first inning. Quinn McKenna added to the lead in the second with an RBI double, spotting Yash Rane a two-run lead.
Rane made his first start in three weeks and was effective, allowing one earned run in three innings while striking out two.
Short, meanwhile, tossed a clean third inning for Alexandria before being pulled for Adam Schwartz. Short gave up two runs and three hits in three innings while striking out one.
In the bottom of the third, Javon Fields singlehandedly tied the game for the Aces, doubling in a run and later scoring on a throwing error.
Jaren Zinn relieved Rane in the bottom of the fourth inning and quickly ran into trouble. Alexandria loaded the bases before Stephen Karis slapped a two-out, two-run single to left field to put the Aces up 4-2.
Alexandria extended their lead to three in the fifth against Brendan Collins, as Riley Cheek scored on an infield single.
Collins prevented Alexandria from scoring in the sixth, and then the skies opened up. With the contest effectively meaningless for positioning and storms forecast through the rest of the night, the umpires called the game, giving Alexandria the 5-2 win.