LANCASTER, Calif. - The JetHawks once again faced a formidable deficit, and once again they nearly came back in a loss to Inland Empire Wednesday at The Hangar. Lancaster lost, 9-8, in a game they trailed by eight at one point.
Lancaster (16-17) began to rally in the seventh against Inland Empire's bullpen. Down 9-1 at the start of the frame, the JetHawks scored four to cut the deficit in half. Colton Welker, Roberto Ramos and Vince Fernandez all drove in runs.
In the eighth, Ramos drove in a pair with a double. Willie Abreu brought home a run with an RBI single, bringing Lancaster almost all the way back. The JetHawks trailed, 9-8, with two on, but Max George struck out to end the inning. Zac Ryan worked a perfect ninth as well to secure the save.
On Tuesday, the JetHawks trailed, 6-0, in the ninth inning and nearly came back. Lancaster scored five in the final frame, but fell by just a run to the 66ers.
Inland Empire (16-17) jumped in front with three unearned runs in the second inning. They knocked Lancaster starter Logan Longwith (1-3) out of the contest with back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning. In the fifth, Alberto Triunfel smashed a three-run homer to put the visitors on top, 9-1.
Alex Klonowski (1-1) worked six one-run innings to earn the victory for the 66ers. Inland Empire's starters have allowed just one run in 13 innings over the first two games of the series.
Colton Welker extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a single and a double for Lancaster. Roberto Ramos and Vince Fernandez each drove in three runs for the JetHawks, while Forrest Wall led the way with three hits. Ramos leads the California League with 31 runs batted in.
Lancaster is now tied with Inland Empire for the top spot in the South Division. Both teams are 16-17 through 33 games. No team in the division has a winning record.
For a second-straight series, the JetHawks head into the finale looking to avoid a sweep. Lancaster sends Brandon Gold (3-1) to the mound Thursday night against Inland Empire's Joe Gatto (3-1). First pitch from The Hangar is 6:35 pm.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.