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Aguilera Wins it with Walk-off Homer

May 31, 2015

San Bernardino, CA- The Inland Empire 66ers won one of the stranger games of the season 6-4 in 13 innings over the San Jose Giants on Saturday night at San Manuel Stadium. The win snapped a five game losing streak. Eric Aguilera smashed a two-run walk-off homer in the 13th to make a winner of Ryan Etsell who tossed four nearly perfect innings out of the pen.

Inland Empire got very little off San Jose (20-29) starter Tyler Beede. The righty out of Vanderbilt was magnificent as he allowed just four hits in seven shutout frames with only one walk and a career-high 11 K's. He was staked to a 4-0 lead by his offense when he left the game powered in large part to Tyler Horan's two-run homer(4) in the fifth off IE starter Harrison Cooney.

The bottom of the eighth inning is when things got a little weird. Giants reliever Ian Gardeck walked IE batter Quinten Davis with one out and then Pedro Ruiz beat out an infield single on a close play at first. In his 66ers debut, Ruben Sosa then reached on an error. With the bases loaded, Sixers CF Bo Way then sliced a ball over the third base bag and down the left field line. The ball rattled around in the 66ers bullpen and San Jose left fielder Jesus Galindo threw up his hands to signal to the umpires he felt the ball was unplayable. The umpire made no ruling and the runners kept running so Galindo picked up the ball and fired it into the infield. A relay to the plate was not in time and Way was safe at home with a game-tying inside-the-park grand slam. Gardeck was later ejected.

The game remained 4-4 until the 13th inning when 66ers 1B Eric Aguilera drilled a walk-off two run homer to right field off SJ reliever Luis Ysla. It was Aguilera's team best sixth homer of the year and he now leads the club in homers, RBI (36), SB (7) and has a team-best 11-game hit-streak. None of the Inland Empire (23-24) celebrations at home plate would have been possible without Etsell. The Philadelphia, PA native allowed just one hit in four innings of work to earn the win and improve his record to 3-2. Etsell covered each extra-inning for the Sixers staff and fanned five with no walks on just 46 pitches.

The series continues at 2:05 pm on Sunday. It can be heard live at 66ers.com.