Lake Elsinore, CA - After a back-and-forth first few innings Carmine Giardina came in and settled things down for the Inland Empire 66ers (43-35, 6-2) who took a 5-3 victory over the Lake Elsinore Storm (31-46, 3-4).
The two sides traded scoring salvos in the early action with Inland Empire scoring a run on a Storm error and the home team answering in the home half of the frame. In the 3rd the 66ers moved in front on an Alex Yarbrough home run. It was Yarbrough's 10th of the season and league leading 100th total hit of the campaign.
The Storm took the lead with two home runs in the 3rd but could have had a wider margin were it not for a loose chair in the Storm bullpen. Austin Hedges doubled down the left field line and Jeremy Baltz scored from first while the ball rattled around in the pen. But 66ers Manager Bill Haselman accurately pointed out that the Storm relievers chair was in the way of outfielder Brennan Gowens and Baltz was sent back to third base. The next batter sent a deep fly ball to center that Andy Workman ran down for an incredible catch to save two runs.
With the game tied in the 6th Inland Empire took over on a two run single from Joel Capote to make it a 5-3 lead. Meanwhile on the mound Carmine Giardina came in return some normalcy to the ballgame. The lefty established a new season high with 3 1/3 innings pitched and four strikeouts on his way to his first win of the year. Eduard Santos got the final five outs for the team's fourth consecutive win and his first save of the year and 20th of his career.
Inland Empire will try for win number five in a row Friday with Mark Sappington on the mound. Inland Empire's next home game will be the 4th of July featuring a showdown between the 66ers and division leading Lancaster, and a post game fireworks extravaganza. For information on 66ers tickets or to schedule your next fun filled group outing, contact the 66ers front office at (909)888-9922.