San Bernardino, CA- The Inland Empire 66ers (53-63, 22-24) defeated the Lake Elsinore Storm (60-56, 24-22) 8-5 to take the series' win. 66ers first baseman C.J. Cron hit a two run homer to give the 66ers their first lead in the 7th inning, a lead that they would never relinquish. Cron now has 21 home runs on the year and 105 RBIs.
The 66ers offense got on the board in the 3rd inning to cut the deficit to 4-1 after the Storm's four run outburst in the top of the inning as 66er left fielder Ryan Jones hit an RBI sacrifice fly to score 66ers catcher Jose Jimenez. Jimenez had a nice day at the plate going 2-for-3 for the night. 66ers third baseman Kaleb Cowart contributed a two RBI double to help Inland Empire's cause.
66ers starter Max Russell did not have luck on his side as he gave up four unearned runs in 5 1/3 innings to take the no decision, despite pitching significantly better this time around. Storm starter Burch Smith went 5 innings, giving up three earned runs, striking out one and walking two. 66ers reliever Carmine Giardina earned his first win of the year to improve to 1-0. Storm reliever Mark Hardy was charged with the loss and the blown save to fall to 2-5. 66ers closer Daniel Tillman came out of a bases loaded jam to earn his 6th save of the year.
The 66ers have an off day before taking on the Visalia Rawhide on the road at 7:05 pm Saturday. The game can be heard on the home of 66ers baseball KCAA 1050 AM beginning with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Pre-Game show at 6:55. For information on 66ers tickets or to schedule your next fun filled group outing, contact the 66ers front office at (909)888-9922, or check out the website 66ers.com.