San Bernardino, CA- The Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino downed the Visalia Rawhide 3-1 on Wednesday night at San Manuel Stadium with strong pitching and a pair of homers to provide much-needed offense. Connor Justus hit a game-tying solo homer in the fourth inning to halt a stretch of 21 consecutive innings without a run scored that the Sixers offense was mired in.
The Sixers offense had a chance in the first and seemingly had Visalia (18-15) starter Justin Donatella (0-5) on the ropes as the righty walked three batters in the frame. Donatella escaped unscathed after the 34-pitch inning and held the 66ers (15-18) down until Justus' homer in the fourth.
Sixers starter Jose Rodriguez was outstanding on the evening but trailed after two innings. The righty allowed just three hits in six frames with one walk and a season-high nine Ks. The lone run he allowed was a solo homer to Matt Jones with two outs in the top of the second. It was Jones' fourth homer of the year and gave the Rawhide a 1-0 lead.
Justus' homer tied it in the fourth and in the sixth Matt Thaiss opened the inning with a single to center for the Sixers. Jared Foster then followed with a blast out to left field for his fourth homer of the year and a 3-1 advantage. Sam Holland tossed two innings of no-hit scoreless relief for the Sixers with two Ks. Jeremy Rhoades allowed a two-out single to Francis Christy in the top of the ninth but fanned Jones to lock down the win for Inland Empire and his third save of the year.
The series concludes Thursday at 7:05 pm. The game can be seen and heard live at 66ers.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.