Rancho Cucamonga, CA - The Quakes battled, but fell short in their home regular season finale against Inland Empire 7-6 on Thursday night. A crowd of 3.977 provided a fantastic atmosphere at the ballpark for Rancho's final game at LoanMart Field in the regular season. The Quakes remain a game back of High Desert in the Wild Card race
Chris Anderson provided yet another fantastic start for the Quakes, striking out 10 and walking two in 6.2 innings of work. It was the third-straight start that Anderson struck out 10 or more batters. He gave up just one run in his first six innings, coming when Sherman Johnson took him deep in the third to give Inland Empire (33-33, 63-73) a 1-0 lead. The home run was the first Anderson had allowed in his last eight outings.
Rancho Cucamonga (31-35, 63-73) backed up Anderson with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning. With men on the corners, Dillon Moyer grounded into an RBI fielder's choice that tied the game up 1-1.
The game went without another run until the bottom of the sixth inning. Erisbel Arruebarrena led off with a towering home run to left field off of Clint Sharp to give Rancho a 2-1 lead. It was Arruebarrena's second homer as a Quake.
The lead did not last long, as Anderson could not get out of the seventh. He had given up just two hits while striking out nine without walking a batter through six innings, but he loaded the bases on two singles and a walk with one out in the seventh. Anthony Bemboom tied the game up with a base hit to left field, and Anderson then walked Sherman Johnson with the bases loaded to give Inland Empire a 3-2 lead.
Rob Rogers entered in relief of Anderson and allowed two more runs to score. He hit Chad Hinshaw with the bases loaded to force in a run before a wild pitch on a strikeout of Dennis Raben brought Bemboom home to make it 5-2 in favor of the visitors.
Rancho battled back to tie up the game in the bottom of the inning. Danny Miranda (3-1, 4.85), who went on to pick up the victory, walked the first two men he faced before allowing a Dillon Moyer bunt single to load the bases. Adam Law drove in a run with a single to right field to make it 5-3. An error by shortstop Angel Rosa on an Arruebarrena ground ball allowed another run to score. The tying run came in on a double play grounded into by Pratt Maynard.
The roller-coaster ride continued in the eighth inning. Geoff Brown (4-6, 4.83) could not retire any of the three men he faced. With two on, Exicardo Cayones doubled in a pair to make it 7-5 in favor of the Sixers.
The Quakes put up a good fight against Inland Empire closer Mark Sappington in the ninth. Adam Law singled with one out to bring the tying run to the plate. With two down, Maynard doubled down the left-field line to score Law and make it a one-run game. Rancho could not complete the comeback, as Brandon Dixon bounced out to end it.
The loss gave Inland Empire the victory in the final home series of the regular season for Rancho. The Quakes are three games back in the South Division, but only one behind High Desert for a Wild Card spot with four games left to play.
The Quakes begin their final series of the season on Friday night, as they open up a four-game set in Lake Elsinore against the Storm. 18-year-old Julio Urias (1-2, 2.50), who has nine strikeouts in each of his last three outings, starts for Rancho against Bryan Rodriguez (8-8, 4.12). First pitch from The Diamond is at 7:05 pm and the game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports AM 1350 starting with the LoanMart Pregame Report at 6:50 pm.
Rancho has no more home games left in the regular season, but playoff tickets will be made available if and when the team qualifies for the postseason. Information will be posted online at rcquakes.com during the stretch run. Thank you for all of your support of the Quakes in 2014. We could not do it without you. Go Quakes!