RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA - Rancho Cucamonga overcame a three-run deficit to earn its sixth straight win, topping Lake Elsinore 8-6 in front of a sellout crowd of 4,821 at LoanMart Field on Saturday night.
Trailing 4-1 in the fifth inning on Star Wars Night, the Quakes (22-13) used the force to rally against Lake Elsinore. Tyler Ogle drew a leadoff walk against Storm starter Rafael De Paula and advanced to third on Paul Hoenecke's single to right. After Hoenecke was cut down at second while trying to advance on a wild pitch, Joey Curletta delivered a sacrifice fly to left field. Billy Bereszniewicz doubled to the right-center field gap and Devan Ahart launched a ball into hyper drive, clearing the fence in right field for his second homer of the year to tie the game at 4-4.
Rancho Cucamonga batted like Jedis in the bottom of the sixth. Brandon Trinkwon singled to open the frame against reliever Luis Hernandez (1-3). A pickoff attempt at first base resulted in a throwing error by Hernandez, allowing Trinkwon to move into scoring position. Kyle Farmer's grounder to third was misplayed by River Stevens, placing runners at the corners. Cody Bellinger doubled down the right field line, plating Trinkwon. With Farmer at third, a wild pitch by Hernandez allowed him to race home with another run. Hoenecke capped the three-run inning with a double to left, chasing Bellinger home for a 7-4 Quakes' lead.
Reliever Victor Araujo (2-1) was lights-out out of the bullpen for Rancho Cucamonga. The right-hander threw two and one-third perfect innings, striking out the last five men he faced to earn the win.
Lake Elsinore (16-19) tried to emerge from the pit of Sarlacc in the top of the eighth. Trailing 7-4, Donavan Tate was hit by a Luis De Paula pitch before Stevens bounced into a fielder's choice. Center fielder Rob Garvey needed a speeder bike to catch up to Jose Rondon's deep fly to the outfield, which rolled all the way to the warning track and allowed Rondon to circle the bases for a two-run, inside-the-park homer to cut the deficit to 7-6.
The Quakes answered in the bottom of the eighth. Farmer reached on an error by second baseman Fernando Perez and scored on Bellinger's double to right field, giving the home team an 8-6 advantage as fans waved glow-in-the-dark light sabers to celebrate.
Reliever Rob Rogers struck out two batters in a perfect ninth inning to register his first save of the year.
Wearing R2D2-themed jerseys, the Quakes jumped in front in the first inning. Ahart worked out a walk against Rafael De Paula and stole second base. Farmer singled to center, scoring Ahart for a 1-0 Rancho Cucamonga lead.
Lake Elsinore's empire struck back in the top of the third against Quakes' starter Jeff Brigham. Auston Bousfield singled and came home on Fernando Perez's towering homer to right, his sixth of the year to give the Storm (troopers) a 2-1 edge.
The visitors padded their lead in the top of the fifth against reliever Luis Meza. Kyle Gaedele singled, Adolfo Reina was hit by a pitch and Donavan Tate tripled to center, plating two runs for a 4-1 Lake Elsinore cushion before Rancho rallied back.
Rancho Cucamonga has tied a season-high with its six-game winning streak. The Quakes have won seven of the first ten matchups against Lake Elsinore, including all six meetings at LoanMart Field this season.
The Quakes and Storm will lock horns again on Sunday afternoon. Right-hander Jose De Leon (3-1, 1.69 ERA) will toe the rubber for Rancho Cucamonga, while Lake Elsinore counters with righty Kyle Lloyd (1-0, 4.74 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 pm. If you can't make it to LoanMart Field, you can follow all the action on FOX Sports 1350 AM, beginning with the pregame show at 1:50.
Prior to Sunday's game, the free U.S. Bank Youth Clinic will take place at LoanMart Field! Registration begins at 9 am, with the clinic from Quakes' players and coaches getting under way at 10am. Tickets for all remaining home games are available at (909) 481-5000 or at rcquakes.com. We hope to see you very soon at LoanMart Field…Go Quakes!