San Bernardino, CA- With another quality start by Drew Rucinski and a home run from his battery mate Abel Baker, helped the Inland Empire 66ers (2-1) inch closer to the title of Division Champions after defeating the Lancaster JetHawks (1-2) by a 6-2 final Monday night at San Manuel Stadium.
Sherman Johnson kicked off the game with his third double of the postseason, which was followed by a single from Eric Stamets. With two men on the bases, Michael Snyder continued to showcase his strength against Lancaster with a two RBI single that gave the 66ers an early lead.
Returning to the mound in search of his second playoff quality start, Drew Rucinski delivered, pitching three scoreless innings, as the 66ers increased their lead in the bottom of the 3rd off a sacrifice fly by Borenstein Up 3-0, Lancaster got their first run of the game in the 4th inning but Abel Baker responded with his first homerun of the postseason returning the 66ers lead by three.
Back on the mound Rucinski pitched his way out of one of the few major jams he found himself in with the bases loaded in the 6th inning. He limited the JetHawks to one run on a sacrifice fly to left. Once again the 66ers got the run right back thanks to Abel Baker who tripled to start the inning. A wild pitch allowed Baker to cross home for a second time leaving the 66ers with a three run lead.
After Rucinski's quality start was over, Eduard Santos and R.J. Alvarez held the JetHawks scoreless for the final three innings, while Inland Empire added an insurance run on Zach Borenstein's second home run of the postseason. With a 6-2 win, Inland Empire is now one win away from its first return to the California League Championship round since 2006.
Alex Keudell will start Game 4 for the Inland Empire 66ers which starts at 7:05 PM Tuesday at San Manuel Stadium. The game can be heard on the 66ers flagship station AM 1050 KCAA. For information on tickets to the 66ers playoff game contact the 66ers front office at (909)888-9922.