SAN BERNARDINO - Inland Empire's Orangel Arenas tossed eight innings of shutout ball as the 66ers took Game One of the best-of-five Championship Series with a 4-0 victory over the San Jose Giants on Thursday evening at San Manuel Stadium. The Giants were held to just three singles in the loss.
Game Two of the series is scheduled for Friday night in San Bernardino.
Arenas picked-up the win after limiting San Jose to three hits during his dominant eight-inning stint on the mound. The right-hander walked two and struck out six.
Inland Empire jumped out to an early 1-0 lead with a single run in the bottom of the first inning against Giants starter Ty Blach. Sherman Johnson led off the frame with an infield single before Eric Stamets dropped down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runner to second. Then with two outs, Zach Borenstein's line drive to center bounced off the glove of Jesus Galindo as the San Jose outfielder attempted to make a running catch. Galindo was charged with an error on the play as Johnson scored from second to put the 66ers in front.
The game remained at 1-0 until the bottom of the eighth as Arenas completely shutdown a Giants offense that knocked out 40 hits over the previous three nights.
San Jose had the leadoff batter reach base in the top of the first and second, but Arenas quickly got out of both innings. Galindo began the contest with a single, but Matt Duffy followed by grounding into a double play. In the second, Ricky Oropesa drew a leadoff walk, but Arenas recovered to set down the next three hitters.
Arenas then retired the Giants 1-2-3 in the third and fourth innings on a combined 15 pitches. With one out in the top of the fifth, Devin Harris singled to snap a string of nine straight San Jose batters retired. Myles Schroder followed by striking out as Harris stole second - the first Giants baserunner to advance into scoring position. Harris though was stranded when the next batter, Jeff Arnold, also struck out.
Arenas continued to cruise pitching around a two-out single from Duffy in the top of the sixth. The Giants' best chance to score came in the seventh inning. With one out, Trevor Brown was plunked before a wild pitch advanced the runner to second. Harris followed by grounding out to move Brown, the potential tying run, to third. However, Arenas pitched out of the inning inducing Schroder to fly out to left to keep the score at 1-0.
Arenas completed his night with a scoreless top of the eighth working through a two-out walk to Galindo.
Meanwhile, Blach kept San Jose in the game holding Inland Empire off the scoreboard from the second through the seventh innings. The 66ers put runners on first and second with one out in the third, but Blach set down the next two hitters on a groundout and a strikeout to end the inning. Blach allowed back-to-back two-out singles in the bottom of the fifth, but Borenstein followed by striking out. The Giants starter set down Inland Empire 1-2-3 in the second, fourth, sixth and seventh innings.
The 66ers finally extended their lead with a three-run bottom of the eighth. Stamets led off with a single before Alex Yarbrough doubled into the left field corner to put runners on second and third. Blach then retired Borenstein on a groundout to shortstop as the runners held. A pitching change brought Tyler Rogers into the game, but a walk to Michael Snyder loaded the bases. Rogers then uncorked a wild pitch to plate Stamets with Inland Empire's second run of the night. Brian Hernandez followed with an RBI single to make it 3-0 before Andy Workman singled home another run for a 4-0 advantage.
R.J. Alvarez completed the shutout out of the 66ers bullpen with a scoreless top of the ninth. Mac Williamson led off by drawing a walk, but Oropesa flied out before consecutive strikeouts of Brown and Harris ended the game.
Blach was saddled with the loss after yielding three runs (two earned) on seven hits over 7 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked none.
Notes: Arenas' eight innings pitched was a season-high … He finished the regular season with an 8-8 record and a 5.14 ERA in 18 starts … Inland Empire out-hit San Jose by a 9-3 margin … The 66ers were 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position compared to the Giants' 0-for-3 … Both teams won Game 5's on Wednesday night to advance to the Championship Series.
On Deck: The Giants and 66ers play Game Two of the best-of-five Championship Series on Friday evening at San Manuel Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM. Kyle Crick (3-1, 1.57 ERA) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while Inland Empire is expected to counter with Danny Reynolds (11-10, 5.39 ERA). The game can be heard live on sjgiants.com with coverage beginning at 6:35 PM.