SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - The JetHawks scored the tying run in the eighth and broke the game open with a five run 10th to beat the Inland Empire 66ers, 6-1, in Game 5 of the South Division Finals on Tuesday at San Manuel Stadium.
The win forces a deciding Game 5 in the best-of-five series on Wednesday at The Hangar.
Lancaster's offense struggled again on Tuesday but the its pitching kept the team in the game and gave them a chance to strike late.
Down 1-0 in the eighth inning, Joe Sclafani led off with a double off reliever Eric Cendejas and was bunted to third base by Nolan Fontana. Carlos Perdomo blooped a double down the first base line to score Sclafani and tie the game, 1-1.
Kenny Long and Mike Hauschild combined to throw a perfect inning in the eighth and Hauschild retired the first two batters in ninth before walking Andy Workman with two down. Travis Ballew (1-0) came on from the bullpen to get the final out and send the game to extra innings.
Sclafani served as the rally starter again in extra innings. He drew a walk against Eduard Santos (0-1) to start the inning and after Fontana failed to get a bunt down, the shortstop poked a bloop base hit to left field to put runners at first and second with no outs. Perdomo squared to bunt on a 1-0 pitch but pulled the bat back and swung, lining a base hit into right field to load the bases.
After a pitching chance, Andrew Aplin lifted a fly ball down the right field line to score Sclafani against reliever Cam Bedrosian, giving the JetHawks a 2-1 advantage, their first lead since Game 1. The 66ers intentionally walked M.P. Cokinos to load the bases and Tyler Heineman and Brandon Meredith delivered back-to-back two-run doubles to put the JetHawks up by five.
Ballew tossed a perfect ninth inning to finish the game. Lancaster relievers Gera Sanchez, Jordan Jankowski, Long, Hauschild and Ballew combined to throw 4 2/3 hitless innings with six strikeouts and two walks.
The last 66ers hit came in the bottom of the sixth when Zach Borenstein hit a 3-0 curveball off the wall in left-centerfield to score Eric Stamets and take the lead. JetHawks starter Tommy Shirley was removed from the game after the hit but finished the night with a solid 5 1/3 innings of work in his first start since the end of July. He allowed four hits, struck out two and walked one batter.
The JetHawks head home to take on the 66ers in Game 5 at The Hangar on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Kyle Smith will make his postseason debut for the JetHawks against left-hander Kramer Sneed.
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.