San Bernardino, CA- The Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino used a six-run eighth inning to vault past Lake Elsinore 7-3 on Monday night at San Manuel Stadium. The victory was the 66ers third win in row and pushed the club's record to 5-6.
The clubs were scoreless until the fourth when Zach Gibbons lifted a ball to right field for the 66ers that was misplayed putting him at third base. Matt Thaiss then grounded to second bringing in Gibbons and giving the 66ers a 1-0 lead. Storm (3-7) starter Eric Lauer was dominant as the southpaw did not allow an earned run over six innings surrendering just three hits and a walk with six Ks. Sixers' starter Jaime Barria was stellar to open the contest. He was unscored upon until the seventh when Storm SS Javier Guerra banged a high-fly off the wall in right center with a runner at third base and two outs. Guerra motored around the bases as the ball kicked away and came home with a two-run inside-the-park homer giving the Storm a 2-1 lead. For Barria it snapped a stretch of 16 scoreless innings to start the season and a run of 20 consecutive scoreless for the 66ers staff.
The 66ers came alive in the eighth as Cody Ramer singled against lefty Jose Castillo (0-1) to open the frame. With runners at first and second and one out Gibbons singled to right to load the bases. Lake Elsinore turned to converted catcher Jose Ruiz to face Thaiss who promptly whistled one up the box for a 2-run single and a 3-2 advantage. Connor Justus then banged a two-run double off the wall in left and Michael Barash followed with a two-run double to make it 7-2. Barash finished the game with three hits. Austin Allen drove a RBI double in the top of the ninth for the Storm to make it 7-3. The six runs in the eighth was a season high in an inning for Inland Empire as was the seven runs for the game. Adam Hofacket was credited with the win in relief of Barria. The righty went 1.1 IP with no runs allowed to improve to 1-0.
The series continues Tuesday at 7:05 pm. The contest can be heard live at 66ers.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.