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Yarbrough delivers series-winning hit09/07/2013 2:52 AM ET
By Josh Jackson / MiLB.com
Bill Haselman has had all season to get to know his Inland Empire team, but the 66ers still found a way to impress their manager on Friday night.
"They never give up," he said. "They're gritty and they're fundamentally sound."
Alex Yarbrough smacked a walk-off single with one out in the ninth inning to give Inland Empire a 7-6 win over Rancho Cucamonga in the decisive third game of its California League mini-series.
The victory sent the 66ers on to the South Division Finals against Lancaster, beginning Saturday.
"That was some kind of game," Haselman said.
The comeback followed Thursday's extra-inning loss in Game 2 as the Quakes scored five unanswered runs over the final three frames.
"We had a two-run lead with five outs to go last night and we ended up losing," Haselman said. "That we bounced back after giving up three tonight shows these guys never give up."
For Yarbrough, who led all Minor Leaguers with 182 hits, his first of the game couldn't have come at a better time.
"I was sitting on a fastball," the Angels' No. 8 prospect said. "[Quakes reliever Craig Stem] gave me one high and outside, but I took it. On 1-0, he came in and I got a good swing on it. Luckily, it found a hole and got through."
Haselman wasn't surprised to see Yarbrough deliver.
"We expect him to do that, and he stepped up," the former Major League catcher said. "He's been unbelievably consistent. It feels like he hit .315 all season. It's hard to remember him going way above or below that. That's really hard to do over a full season. He's a special player and this was a special season."
Yarbrough's liner to center field scored ninth-ranked Angels prospect Eric Stamets, who singled in the tying run after Rancho Cucamonga scored three times in the top of the ninth.
Stamets also doubled, scored twice and drove in two runs. Angels No. 15 prospect and Cal League home run leader Zach Borenstein contributed two hits, an RBI and a run scored.
After the Quakes scored three times in the first, Kramer Sneed -- who came to the Angels last March in the trade that sent Vernon Wells to the Yankees -- struck out six and gave up three hits over 5 2/3 innings of shutout relief.
"He was supposed to start tomorrow if we won. Unfortunately, Dan Reynolds had a rough outing," Haselman said. "It was an elimination game, so we had a really short leash. Rancho Cucamonga's not quite as good against lefties, so we went to Sneed. That guy is a competitor. He competes like you wouldn't believe. He's something else when it comes to that."
Eduard Santos (1-0) recorded the final out in the top of the ninth to get the win.
O'Koyea Dickson homered and lifted a sacrifice fly to cap a series in which he batted .636 for the Quakes.