San Bernardino, CA- The Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino and Lake Elsinore Storm rode strong pitching in a see-saw affair that required extra innings at San Manuel Stadium on Tuesday. The 66ers took the contest in 11 innings on a walk-off flare single to right by Jared Foster scoring Zach Gibbons for a 3-2 win and the club's fourth consecutive win.
The 66ers and Storm were stout on the mound as the game was scoreless until the 66ers got on the board in the seventh. Inland Empire (6-6) starter Grayson Long: 5.0IP, 2H, 0R, 1BB, 7Ks and Storm (3-9) righty Chris Huffman: 6IP, 6H, 0R, 1BB, 5Ks set a powerful tone to the game. Garrett Nuss gave the 66ers two scoreless innings in relief of Long and Inland Empire broke the tie in the seventh against Storm reliever Zech Lemond. Jake Yacinich singled to open the frame and stole second. Gibbons then singled him home despite a very close play at the plate to give the 66ers the 1-0 lead.
The game remained 1-0 until two outs in the top of the ninth when Josh Naylor launched a solo homer of IE reliever Sam Holland to tie the game at 1-1. The mammoth shot off the top of the video board in right-center field was Naylor's first of the year. Lake Elsinore took a 2-1 lead in the top of the tenth on a RBI single by Chris Baker but the 66ers fought back to tie it 2-2 in the bottom of the inning when Jose Rojas' sac fly scored Cody Ramer who had singled earlier in the frame. In the top of the 11th things looked dire for the Sixers as Edwin Moreno reached on a fielding error to open the inning. Moreno looked to score when the next batter Michael Gettys lifted a fly down the left field line; the Sixers caught a break as the ball hopped out of play for a ground rule double returning Moreno to third. After the 66ers called for the first automatic intentional walk in franchise history to load them up, RHP Jeremy Rhoades (2-0) got a strike-out and then induced consecutive fielder's choices at home plate to escape the jam.
In the bottom of the inning the 66ers got a one-out single by Gibbons, his third hit of the game. Matt Thaiss walked and the runners then advanced to third and second on a wild pitch by Storm RHP Tyler Barnette (0-1). With the infield drawn in, Foster popped one over the second baseman to score Gibbons and give Inland Empire the 3-2 win. It was Foster's third hit of the night.
The series continues at 11:00 AM on Wednesday. The contest can be heard live on 66ers.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.