LANCASTER, Calif. - Brady Rodgers dominated from the first pitch and the JetHawks offense displayed efficiency en route to a 4-1 victory over the Inland Empire 66ers in Game 1 of the South Division Finals.
Rodgers struck out a career-high 11 batters in front of a crowd of 4,075 on Saturday night at The Hangar to help put Lancaster just two wins away from a second straight trip to the Cal League Championship Series.
The JetHawks scored its first two runs on RBI-groundouts, the first of which came in the second inning. M.P. Cokinos led off the inning with a double and moved to third on a Tyler Heineman grounder before scoring on a Brandon Meredith bouncer to the right side.
Inland Empire scored its only run of the game in the third inning to tie it up. Andy Workman lined a single up the middle and Gary Mitchell followed with a double to right field to drive him in. Rodgers took over from there.
The JetHawks starter struck out the side in the second and seventh innings. His 11 strike outs were a season-high for the JetHawks as well and his 7 1/3 innings pitched were a personal career-high. Aside from allowing just four hits, he did not issue a walk.
Lancaster added an insurance run in the eighth. Cokinos and Heineman picked up singles with one out and Meredith doubled to bring home Cokinos.
Kenny Long, who recorded the final two outs of the eighth inning, struck out Zach Borenstein to start the ninth. Travis Ballew came on and walked the first two batters he faced before striking out Abel Baker and inducing a game-ending fly ball to deep left field off the bat of Andy Workman to notch the save.
Borenstein, the Cal League MVP, finished the game 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Michael Snyder and Baker each struck out three times as well.
The JetHawks take on the 66ers in Game 2 of the best-of-five series on Sunday at 5 p.m. at The Hangar. Colton Cain, the winning pitcher in Game 3 of the 2012 Championship Series, will get the start.
Don't miss a moment of the 2013 season as the JetHawks look to repeat as Cal League Champions. 2013 Cal League postseason tickets and other great ticket packages are on sale now. To order, call (661) 726-5400 or visit jethawks.com.