There was no comeback for the Condors on Friday night in San Diego.
Tied at one after 20 minutes of play, Bakersfield gave up a goal 25 seconds into the second period and never recovered as the San Diego Gulls pulled away for a 4-1 victory in San Diego.
The series returns to Bakersfield on Saturday night and it is a must-win for the Condors, who trail the Gulls 3-1 in the AHL Pacific Division Finals.
Penalties and turnovers were the enemy of the Condors on Friday night as the Gulls scored two power-play goals (out of seven opportunities) and two goals off turnovers in the Bakersfield zone.
The Gulls took a 1-0 lead 12:10 into the first period on a power play when the puck bounced off the end boards and deflected off Adam Cracknell and past Shane Starrett.
Ryan Stanton brought the Condors even at 15:48 when he took a cross-ice feed from Ryan McLeod and scored from the right circle.
But Sam Carrick scored for the Gulls just 25 seconds into the second period off a Condors turnover and another turnover led to another goal for Cracknell at 5:07 and a 3-1 San Diego lead.
That meant another short night for Shane Starrett as he was lifted for the second straight night and replaced by Stuart Skinner. Starrett, who was the loser, stopped nine of 12 shots.
The Gulls made it 4-1 when Kevin Roy beat Stuart for a power-play goal with 44 seconds in the second.
Keegan Lowe scored the final Bakersfield goal eight minutes into the second.
Stuart finished with 17 saves.
San Diego goaltender Jeff Glass stopped 26 shots.