Rancho Cucamonga, CA - Chris O'Brien and Noel Cuevas combined for a sizzling play in the top half of the tenth inning, then teamed up in the bottom of the inning to send the Quakes back to the Cal League Post-Season, as the Quakes downed the Lancaster JetHawks by a score of 2-1 on Sunday evening at LoanMart Field.
Cuevas led off the bottom of the tenth with a double off the top of the left-center field wall against JetHawks' closer Travis Ballew (4-5). Corey Seager followed with a grounder to the right side, advancing Cuevas to third base. O'Brien wasted little time, ripping a Ballew offering into right field to end the game and help the Quakes return to the post-season for the first time since 2011.
O'Brien and Cuevas impacted the game in the top of the inning too, setting the table for a wild finish. With Lancaster's Chris Epps at second base, eventual winner Craig Stem (2-1) allowed a two-out base hit to Dan Gulbransen. Cuevas charged in right field and delivered a throw to the plate that O'Brien caught on a difficult back-hand short-hop, then tagged out Epps to send the game to the bottom of the tenth inning.
Both teams pitched well on Sunday, with Quakes' starter Lindsey Caughel giving Rancho seven innings of one-run baseball. His only mistake was a solo homer allowed to Brandon Meredith in the fourth inning, Meredith's 16th of the year for a 1-0 Lancaster advantage.
The Quakes evened the game in the fifth, as Corey Seager brought home O'Koyea Dickson with a sac fly, making it a 1-1 game against JetHawks' starter Vince Velasquez, who allowed just the one run over six innings of work.
Playoff Tickets can be purchased on Monday morning at 10am, by calling (909) 481-5000 or online at rcquakes.com. If you're a Quakes' MVP and have a 2013 ticket package, then call the Quakes to reserve your same seats for the post-season.
The Quakes will now advance to the post-season, as the #3 seed, as they'll host the Inland Empire 66ers at LoanMart Field on Wednesday, in game one of a best-of-three. Games two and then three, if necessary, will be in San Bernardino.
On Monday, the Quakes (34-35, 65-74) will finish the 140-game regular season. Francisco Villa 0-0) will make his Cal League debut for Rancho on Monday at 2:05pm, while the JetHawks will go with Aaron West (9-8). Monday is another Social Media Monday, driven by Mercedes-Benz of Ontario, as we celebrate Labor Day with our regular season finale. Tickets are available by calling (909) 481-5000 or online at rcquakes.com. We hope to see you very soon at LoanMart Field. Go Quakes!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.