Rancho Cucamonga, CA - Rancho Cucamonga could not hold onto a late lead on Tuesday night, falling 7-3 in 11 innings to Inland Empire in the series opener at LoanMart Field. The loss was Rancho's eighth in the team's last nine games.
Both teams traded runs in the first and third innings. Inland Empire (32-32, 57-77) took the early lead thanks to a pair of two-out hits. Angel Rosa's bloop single scored Dennis Raben to give the Sixers a 1-0 edge.
Rancho Cucamonga (30-34, 62-72) answered with a run of their own in the home half. Adam Law led off with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Erisbel Arruebarrena to tie the game up at one.
Inland Empire once again scored with two outs and nobody on against Luis Chirinos in the third. Chad Hinshaw doubled, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single from Dennis Raben to make it 2-1 66ers. Chirinos turned in another solid start, giving up two runs in five innings.
Just as was the case in the first inning, the Quakes followed with a run of their own in the third. Dillon Moyer led off with a double, got to third on a wild pitch, and then came home on a sac fly by Adam Law that knotted the game up at two runs apiece. Rancho hit leadoff doubles in each of the first three innings.
After four runs in the first three innings, both offenses went silent until the eighth. With two outs and Pratt Maynard on first base, Inland Empire was playing its outfield deep against Chris Jacobs. Jacobs hit a flare down the right-field line that bounced into the 66er bullpen for an RBI triple. Jacobs' first triple of the year gave Rancho a late 3-2 lead, their first of the ballgame.
Dan Tillman was called upon to close it out in the ninth for a second game in a row. With one out, Exicardo Cayones singled to left field and made it to second on an Adam Law error. Alex Allbritton moved Cayones to third with a base hit of his own. With men on the corners and one out, Anthony Bemboom hit a ground ball to second that could have been a game-ending double play but the Quakes could not turn it in time. Bemboom's fielder's choice scored Cayones and tied the game up at three.
The Quakes were forced to go to extras for the sixth time in the month of August. They had a great chance to win it in the 10th when Arruebarrena singled with one out and then managed to go from first to third on a Maynard groundout. With the winning run 90 feet away, Inland Empire manager Denny Hocking opted to intentionally walk both Chris Jacobs and Aaron Miller to have closer Mark Sappington face Jeremy Rathjen. With the count full, Sappington misfired on his eighth pitch and it looked like a bases-loaded walk would give Rancho a dramatic victory. However, base umpire Clint Vondrak ruled that Rathjen went around on the pitch and that it was a strikeout rather than a walk.
The Rancho offense left a total of 10 men on base in the contest, going 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
The Sixers seized the momentum with four runs in the top of the 11th. Victor Araujo (0-1, 13.50) did not retire any of the three men he faced, giving up an RBI single to Alex Allbritton that made it 4-3 Inland Empire before being taken out of the game. Yasmanys Fernandez then allowed a two-run single to Anthony Bemboom and an RBI triple to Chad Hinshaw to give the 66ers a commanding 7-3 lead.
Sappington (3-7, 5.61) gave up a leadoff single to Kyle Farmer in the bottom of the inning before striking out three in a row to give Inland Empire the victory.
The loss was Rancho's eighth in the team's last nine games, and they fell to 9-8 in games that go beyond nine innings. It was the fourth time in the month of August that the team has lost when leading in the ninth inning. The team had only lost once when leading after eight prior.
The Quakes will try to even up the series on Wednesday night. Lefty Tom Windle (11-8, 4.32), who leads the team in wins, goes for Rancho against Ray Hanson (4-4, 3.68). First pitch is at 7:05 pm and the game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports AM 1350 starting with the LoanMart Pregame Report at 6:50 pm.
Rancho's final home series continues on Wednesday night, with a Terra Vista Animal Hospital Bark in the Ballpark! Bring your dog to LoanMart Field for just $3 with proceeds going to the Rancho Cucamonga Animal Shelter. The home finale on Thursday features a postgame Fireworks Spectacular thanks to Metro Nissan of Montclair, in addition to Thirsty Thursday drink specials! Fans can get 24-oz. Pepsi products and 16-oz. domestic drafts for only $2, while 16-oz. premium drafts, wine, champagne and margaritas are $3! All three games begin at 7:05 pm and tickets are available by calling (909) 481-5000 or online at rcquakes.com. We hope to see you at LoanMart Field during the final home series of the regular season! Go Quakes!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.