Rancho Cucamonga, CA- The Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino scored five runs in the first inning en route to a series-opening 9-5 win versus the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes at LoanMart Field on Thursday. The Sixers, winners of three straight, knocked Dodger's lefty Rich Hill (on an injury rehab with the Quakes) out in the first scoring four times against him on three hits and a walk.
The Sixers did get to Hill (0-1) who made 29 pitches in the first before being lifted. He struck two batters. Zach Gibbons opened with a single and Matt Thaiss added another. Taylor Ward then thumped a two-run double to give IE a 2-0 lead. Connor Justus drew a walk that ended Hill's night. Brendon Sanger singled in a run against reliever Carlos Felix and Jordan Serena followed with a two-run double to make it 5-0. Inland Empire (13-15) added two runs in the second when Gibbons launched a solo shot to left, his first of the year. Thaiss later doubled in the frame and came home on Ward's RBI single making it 7-0.
The Quakes (14-14) chipped away at the lead with three runs in the bottom of the second and then got two more in the third when Ibandel Isabel belted a shot to left for his eighth dinger of the year, four of those have come against the Sixers.
Inland Empire tacked on insurance runs however as in the fifth Serena tripled and came home on Jake Yacinich's bunt base-hit to make it 8-5. Yacinich delivered again in the seventh with a two-out RBI single for the 9-5 lead. Ty Barkell and Garrett Nuss each gave the Sixers scoreless innings but Adam Hofacket took control of the contest on the mound for the Sixers. The Corona, CA product retired the first eight batters he faced in order and then allowed a two-out walk in the ninth before punching out DJ Peters to ice the game. Hofacket (2-0) struck out four batters. Eight of the nine batters in the order had at least one hit for Inland Empire. Jared Foster extended his hitting-streak to 11-games.
The series continues Friday at 7:05 pm. 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.