Adelanto, CA- -Pitching coaches often talk about passing the baton, where one starter throws a quality outing, much like a lead leg in a relay rest runs a good spring, and then hands things off to the next starter or runner expecting him to do the same. Friday night at hitter friendly High Desert, the Inland Empire 66ers (24-16) passed the baton beautifully with Eswarlin Jimenez picking up where Mark Sappington had left off the night before. The result was a 5-3 victory over the High Desert Mavericks (20-21), the California League's top offense in one of the most difficult parks to pitch in throughout minor league baseball.
Jimenez was staked to an early lead by his catcher Abel Baker who hit his first home run of the season in the 2nd for a 1-0 advantage, and whom would end up just a double away from hitting for the cycle. But the Mavericks hitters got a home run of their own in the bottom of the frame and took a 2-1 lead.
Zach Borenstein quickly erased the one run deficit in the 3rd with his league leading 12th home run of the year to tie things at two. In the 4th the 66ers were able to load the bases and were then the beneficiaries of a hit batter and run scoring fielder's choice, before Alex Yarbrough delivered a two out run scoring single to make it 5-2.
That would be all the edge Jimenez needed. From the 3rd inning through the 7th he allowed just two hits, at one point retiring eight consecutive batters, and 16 of 18. He tried to establish a new team high for 2013 by entering the game in the 8th but was removed after allowing a pair of doubles. Ty Kelley and Mike Morin quickly shut the door on the Mavericks, preserving the victory for Jimenez who also breached the 400 career innings pitched mark during the victory.
Inland Empire wraps its series against the Mavericks in Adelanto on Saturday. First pitch time is scheduled for 6:05 PM and the game can be heard on the 66ers flagship station AM 1050 KCAA. The 66ers return home on Sunday, May 19th to host the San Jose Giants for a Family Funday Sunday presented by Toyota of San Bernardino. For information on 66ers tickets or to schedule your next fun filled group outing, contact the 66ers front office at (909)888-9922.