San Bernardino, CA- The Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino got a desperately-needed clutch hit from catcher Michael Barash in the seventh inning against the Visalia Rawhide on Thursday en route to a 5-3 victory. The win gave the Sixers the final two games of the three-game set and a series win.
Inland Empire (16-18) took a 1-0 lead when Jared Foster singled against Visalia starter Joel Payamps and went to third on Barash's single. A passed ball allowed Foster to come home. The Rawhide tied it on Henry Castillo's RBI single in the top of the second against Sixers' starter Luis Pena. Visalia took a lead in the third when Galli Cribbs doubled to right and eventually came home on Matt McPhearson's sac fly. The 66ers loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth and tied the game 2-2 when a runner came home on a double-play ball but could muster no more.
The Sixers did take advantage in the seventh however as reliever Kirby Bellow (3-1), who escaped a jam in the sixth for Payamps and Visalia (18-16), walked three batters with one out in the frame. Reliever Cody Clark came in for the Rawhide and Barash tagged the first offering Clark served over the left-fielder's head for a three-run double and a 5-2 lead. It was Inland Empire's one and only hit with runners in scoring position in the entire three-game series. The Rawhide did score a run in the eighth charged to IE reliever Winston Lavendier but the southpaw was credited with the win and improved to 2-1 on the season. Righty Greyfer Eregua went the final 1.2 innings to notch his second save for the Sixers. Five of Visalia's eight hits were doubles. Barash and Connor Justus had the home team's two-baggers. Kyle Survance stole a base in his Cal League debut for Inland Empire.
The 66ers open a series at San Jose Friday at 7:00 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.