Quakes win Game 1 on Walker's homer
Jared Walker hadn't yet visited the hit column in the California League postseason. His first playoff knock more than made up for it.After drawing a bases-loaded walk earlier in the contest, the Dodgers prospect smacked a go-ahead solo homer in the ninth inning to give Rancho Cucamonga a 5-4 win
After drawing a bases-loaded walk earlier in the contest, the Dodgers prospect smacked a go-ahead solo homer in the ninth inning to give Rancho Cucamonga a 5-4 win over Visalia in Game 1 of the best-of-5 California League Finals on Tuesday at Recreation Park.
Gameday box score
"Big confidence, man," Walker said of taking the opener on the road. "This is the best group I've ever been around and we're going to go really far through this. We're going to get it. We're going to make sure we take care of business, and the confidence is going to stay up no matter what."
The Quakes found themselves in an early hole after Visalia plated three runs in the second inning, sparked by a leadoff homer from fifth-ranked D-backs prospect
After No. 16 Dodgers prospect
"I have to give it to [Smith], he's a pretty decent starter," Walker said. "We faced a lot of the JetHawks pitchers [in the semifinals] and a lot of them are craft pitchers. They try to pitch around you and nibble, nibble, nibble; they don't try to pound you with fastballs. This guy tonight was the total opposite, and we haven't seen a guy like this in a while. It took us a minute.
"He's going to try to throw that fastball as much as he can, but once we got used to that again, we're great hitters on this team. We can adjust during a game and still get the win on it."
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D-backs No. 9 prospect
"We went down three, kept battling, got some hits there in the fifth inning and sixth inning, got some hits going, the big home run and another couple hits. We got the bases loaded and got the big walk there to go up [in the sixth]," the 22-year-old said. "They went back to tie it and it's the ninth inning and we're like, 'All right, let's not let it go [any] longer. Let's put up one run.'"
With one out, Walker was ahead in the count against reliever
"It was the first hit of my playoffs, and I've played every game so far," he said. "I've had a lot of walks so far, but it felt good. It was 2-0. Guy throws 96-98. I was looking for something elevated, up for 2-0, and he threw it.
"I wanted to jump up and down and scream more, but I'm more of the nonchalant, relaxed guy that takes care of business. I knew I did that, and it felt good. It was a really good feeling. Seeing the dugout hyped me up."
Despite their slow start at the plate, the Quakes never wavered, according to their second baseman.
"We all stayed positive," Walker said. "We knew our 'pen was strong and [starting pitcher
Curry (1-0) fanned five over two innings for the win, allowing a run on two hits. Jagiello struck out the side in the ninth for his second postseason save.
Game 2 is Wednesday night in Visalia.
Tyler Maun is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun.