Lake Elsinore, CA - The Inland Empire 66ers (44-35, 7-2) have matched their longest win streak of the 2013 season. A 3-2 victory over the Lake Elsinore Storm (31-47, 3-5) on the road Friday night made it five straight wins for the High-A Halos, and seven in nine tries at Pete Lehr Field.
The night began as a pitchers' duel featuring California League All Star Mark Sappington on the mound for Inland Empire. Sappington retired the first 13 men he faced Friday, and when the Storm did record hits against the right hander the defense was there to back him up. With a runner at second, Storm catcher and Futures Game participant Austin Hedges hit a single to right, but Gary Mitchell was there to fire home and record an out at the plate.
The Storm would score in the 6th on an RBI single by B.J. Guinn, who was thrown out trying to make it an RBI double at second by Mitchell. The 66ers came through with the equalizer in the 8th when Trevor Hairgrove led off with a double and Brennan Gowens followed with a triple to tie things. But despite having Gowens at third with no one out the game went to the bottom half of the 8th still tied at one.
In the 9th the 66ers finally took the lead for the first time in the contest. Abel Baker was a couple of feet shy of a home run but legged out a triple and scored one batter later on a Joel Capote sacrifice fly. The 66ers added some insurance when Gary Mitchell came around to score from second on a RBI single by Hairgrove to make it 3-1 66ers. That run came in handy as the Storm got a homer in the 9th but R.J. Alvarez hung on for his first career save, preserving the team's fifth straight win.
Inland Empire will try for a season best six game win streak on Saturday. The 66ers 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.