Inland Empire, CA - Michael Snyder's 3-or-5 effort including a home run was not enough Thursday night, but an 8-5 loss in 10 innings to the rival Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (1-1) leaves the Inland Empire 66ers (1-1) with an opportunity to win a decisive game three in their home park Friday night.
The ballgame started in the 66ers favor with a wild double play that began with a Quakes double and ended with two runners being tagged out in the baselines rallied the home team as they entered their first at bats. This energy proved effective when Zach Borenstein singled to left field allowing Sherman Johnson to hurdle the ball and race across home plate. This lead was short lived when a sacrifice fly put the Quakes on the board in the third inning. An RBI triple in the following inning gave the Quakes an advantage and after Dodgers 1st round pick Corey Seager's base hit, it was 3-1 Quakes in the 4th inning.
Michael Snyder made it a one run ballgame with his first homerun of the postseason that set the stage for the hitters to follow. Back-to-back singles by Gary Mitchell and Andy Workman gave the 66ers a chance to retake the lead. Bemboom made the opportunity even larger with an infield single to load the bases. The Quakes made a call to the bullpen in response, putting Juan Noriega on the mound. The pitching change did not prove effective when an RBI walk sent Mitchell to home plate. Eric Stamets then hit his single of postseason play to shallow leftfield allowing everyone to advance 90 feet. Due to a strong showing from the 66ers offense, Inland Empire leads 4-3 heading into the 5th inning.
The Quakes season started to slip away as the 66ers continued to prove a threat in the 5th inning. Mitchell tripled to deep centerfield pushing Hernandez across home plate, advancing Inland Empire's to a two run lead. On the mound Alex Keudell's impressive run continued with a quality start on Thursday, allowing just three runs in seven innings. Cam Bedrosian's outing was cut short after leaving a player on first and third, putting Eric Cendejas on the mound. The Quakes made it a one run game off of a RBI single leaving the tying run on third base, and Bobby Coyle tied the game off of a RBI groundout.
In attempts to change the tide of the game, the 66ers entered the 9th inning replacing Cendejas with Carmine Giardina on the mound who succeeded in pitching a scoreless inning. With 2 outs and the game tied Zach Borenstein came up in the bottom of the 9th. The Quakes put Dan Coulombe on the mound to face off the Cal League MVP. This proved a strategic move for Rancho as Borenstein grounded out leading game two of the Wild Card Round into extra innings.
The game fell out of the 66ers hands as Ty Kelley started up the 10th inning on the hill with a throwing error on a pickoff attempt that advanced Schebler to third. Schebler scored on the following play off of a sharp ground ball to right field. The Quakes scored two more runs, and the 66ers could not answer in the bottom of the 10th, leaving Inland Empire with an 8-5 loss.
Game 3 of the Wild Round will take place at San Manuel Stadium Friday night at 7:05pm. It will be a 50 cent Friday presented by Toyota and Scion of Redlands. For information on tickets to the 66ers playoff game at San Manuel Stadium on Friday, September 6th, contact the 66ers front office at (909)888-9922.