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09/06/2007 3:17 AM ET
Hoffman, 66ers outlast Storm
Delivers walk-off double in 14th inning to win series opener
Manager Dave Collins had several inspirational messages for his team during the marathon. (Inland Empire 66ers)

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Jamie Hoffman's walk-off double in the 14th inning gave the Inland Empire 66ers a 4-3 win over the Lake Elsinore Storm on Wednesday in the opener of their California League playoff series.

Shane Justis doubled with one out in the 14th and ended the marathon when Hoffman stroked a two-base hit to center field.

"I went fishing after some sliders early on," Hoffman said. "There were men in scoring postion, I was thinking a base hit wins it, so get some good wood on it."

This wasn't his first walk-off hit, but it was his most meaningful.

"It happened earlier this year, but that wasn't in the playoffs," Hoffman said. "We had some good opportunities, they had some good opportunities. They battled, just like we did. We were confident the whole game. Everyone was pretty relaxed."

A lot of the 66ers demeanor came from manager Dave Collins, who continually pepped his team up during the marathon.

"He gave us inspirational talks all game," Hoffman said. "He gave them to me five or six times."

Adam Godwin tripled and scored in the fourth and Joshua Bell launched a solo homer in the fifth for the 66ers.

Inland Empire reliever Javy Guerra (1-0) yielded two hits, fanned six and walked two over four shutout innings. Starter Alberto Bastardo allowed two runs on six hits and struck out six over six innings.

"He had a real good start," Hoffman said. "Bastardo kept us in it. He threw really well."

Despite the win, Hoffman knows that a trip to Lake Elsinore is not going to be smooth sailing.

"We head to Lake Elsinore for two games at their place," he said. "We just need to steal one."

Juan Ciriaco went 3-for-4 wwith a sacrifice fly in the ninth that tied the game, 3-3. Josh Alley went 4-for-6 and David Freese slugged a solo homer in the fourth for the Storm.

Lake Elsinore reliever Greg Burke (0-1) gave up one run on three hits and a walk over 1 1/3 frames. Starter Stephen Faris allowed three runs on five hits and stuck out five over 6 2/3 innings.

Michael Blinn is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.