San Bernardino, CA -Drew Rucinski dazzled in his Inland Empire 66ers (62-56, 25-23) debut, but was outdone by Visalia Rawhide (64-54, 25-23) starter Andrew Barbosa who came up with a complete game shutout Friday to help the visitors to a 2-0 win.
Inland Empire tried out a new starter Friday in Drew Rucinski. Making his first appearance in affiliated baseball since 2011, Rucinski showed Major League quality with his solid professional fastball displayed against Visalia. After pitching two scoreless innings, Rucinski let up one run in the third off of a line drive that sent Kevin Medrano across the plate.
Alex Yarbrough climbed to 7th in 66ers history for hits in a season with his 160th off of a sharp ground ball to center field in the first inning. Yarbrough matches Randal Grichuk's total from a year ago and is currently the California league leader in hits. After six strikeouts and an exceptionally strong effort, Rucinski was replaced by Edward Santos in the top of the 7th.
Eric Stamets changed the rhythm of the game by hitting the night's second run off of a bunt single in the top of the 7th. In attempts to capitalize on the base runner and secure his six game hit streak, Zach Borenstein singled off of a ground ball to right field which allowed Yarbrough to advance to third. But the 66ers would fail to score, and ended up falling by the 2-0 final in the series opener.
Don't miss Inland Empire's attempt for redemption in the second game of the series Saturday night at 7:05 PM for the Bernie Fleece Blanket Giveaway! For information on 66ers tickets or to schedule your next fun filled group outing, contact the 66ers front office at (909)888-9922.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.