Quakes gain early edge in Cal League Finals

No. 18 Dodgers prospect De Jong solid early, bats come out in opener

Chase De Jong lowered his postseason ERA to 1.42 through 12 2/3 innings over two starts. (Rancho Cucamonga Quakes)

By Tyler Maun / MiLB.com | September 18, 2015 2:55 AM

Less than 24 hours after they rallied for a dramatic win to punch their ticket to the California League Finals, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes didn't wait until their last trip to the plate to break out.

Dodgers' No. 18 prospect Chase De Jong worked six quality innings and then Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga turned a tight Game 1 into a rout with a seven-run sixth inning, cruising to a 12-3 victory over San Jose on Thursday night at LoanMart Field to take the Championship Series opener.

"It's always important to win Game 1, especially when you're at home," Quakes manager Bill Haselman said. "We had a pretty intense game yesterday, and they wiped that slate clean. They were ready for this game, so they did a heck of a job. De Jong did a great job on the mound, gave us six strong innings, and our offense was relentless with their ABs."

On Wednesday, Rancho Cucamonga eliminated High Desert with two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning of a 6-5 win. The Quakes were just 1-56 during the regular season when trailing after eight innings, and Haselman wanted to ensure his team knew there was more work to be done.

"I talk to them in the dugout every day just before we start to stretch and I did say that," Haselman noted. "I said, 'Last night was great. It was an outstanding job, but it's over. It means nothing anymore. We can talk about it at a later date. We've got some business ahead of us here, and we need to get focused for that.' They did. They came out, and they did exactly that."

De Jong (1-0) overcame a brief hiccup when Chuckie Jones belted a two-run homer off him in the third. De Jong allowed just two other hits and struck out six while walking two over six innings.

"Both the playoff games that he's pitched in, he's been so poised on the mound," Haselman said. "He doesn't look nervous. He just looks in command. He looks like, 'Give me the ball. Let's go.' He has no fear. He was very poised and it's nice to see that."

The Quakes drew even in the fifth when Paul Hoenecke led off with a homer to center field and Willie Calhoun lofted a sacrifice fly to right that scored Devan Ahart. One inning later, Rancho Cucamonga erupted. The Quakes sent 13 batters to the plate in the sixth and plated seven -- highlighted by Jacob Scavuzzo's three-run homer.

"When you're scoring runs like that, it's a pretty good feeling," Haselman said. "Chase was coming out of the game at that point just because of his pitch count. It was nice to be able to score those runs and get the win for him."

Behind De Jong, Joe Broussard allowed one run on two hits over three innings to earn the save.

San Jose's Martin Agosta (0-1) was charged with four runs -- three earned -- on six hits over 5 1/3 innings.

The Quakes and Giants meet for Game 2 on Friday night in Rancho Cucamonga.

Tyler Maun is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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