San Jose, CA -One of the best played games of the year left the Inland Empire 66ers (63-61, 26-28) with a bad taste in their mouths after falling 3-2 in 10 innings to the San Jose Giants (70-54, 27-27).
Inland Empire starter Mike Piazza matched Giants top prospect Kyle Crick inning for inning and zero for zero Friday night at Municipal, and when the 66ers starter handed the ball over to the bullpen things got better for the 66ers on the mound. Between Piazza, and relievers Daniel Tillman, Cam Bedrosian and Carmine Giardina, Inland Empire at one point retired 14 consecutive Giants hitters.
At the plate Brennan Gowens led the 66ers charge with a three-for-five effort including a run scored and the game tying RBI single in the 7th. The deciding run came after a rare costly error for the normally sound Inland Empire defense. Eduard Santos missed the target on a pickoff throw, allowing Jeff Arnold to reach third on the play. Chris Lofton then lined a ball to centerfield which Brennan Gowen caught in stride. The throw home was high, but Anthony Bemboom made an athletic leaping catch and came down quick enough to make it a close play at the plate, but Arnold scored on the sac fly to win the game for San Jose.
Despite the loss, Inland Empire had a great deal to be happy about Friday. The 66ers scored off one of the league's top pitchers, went inning for inning with the league's best staff, and the bullpen had a spectacular night. Also, Inland Empire's magic number for home field advantage in the playoff's opening round was reduced to 12 when High Desert lost today in Lancaster.
Inland Empire takes on San Jose again Saturday for a 5:00 PM game which can be heard on AM 1050 KCAA. The 66ers final home stand of the 2013 season begins Tuesday, August 20th, and includes a Fireworks extravaganza on Friday, August 23rd. For more information on 66ers tickets or to schedule your next fun filled group outing, contact the 66ers front office at (909)888-9922.