Lancaster, CA- The Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino had a tremendous offensive night on Tuesday at The Hangar but their comeback bid against the Lancaster JetHawks came up short in a 9-8 loss. It was the fourth consecutive loss for the Sixers, all of them versus Lancaster (72-56, 34-24) who swept the Sixers at home over the weekend.
For the 66ers (59-69, 29-29) leadoff batter Jahmai Jones singled against JetHawks starter Brandon Gold (4-1) on the second pitch of the game. The base hit extended Jones’ hitting streak to 24-games which is the longest stretch in the California League in 2017. Jones surpassed former JetHawkBrendan Rodgers and former 66er Jose Rojas, both of whom have been promoted to double-A, who each had 23-game streaks. Jones also collected a four-hit game as he had three singles and a triple.
Jones has hit safely in 30 of the 31 games he has played in for the Sixers and raised his average to .362. Inland Empire found themselves trailing 9-4 with two outs in the bottom of the fourth when RHP Blake Smith took over on the mound for starter Jose Rodriguez (8-12). Smith and fellow righty Samil De Los Santoskept the Sixers in the game with 4.1 scoreless innings combined allowing four hits and two walks with four Ks.
The Sixers chipped away at the lead and in the eighth Jordan Zimmermantagged a one-out RBI double scoring Jones to put the tying run a second with one out. Zimmerman tried to move to third on a ball that got past the catcher Chris Rabago but the pitch squared up the home plate umpire and dropped straight at the catcher’s feet who then threw out Zimmerman at third. Alexander Guillen pitched a perfect ninth to earn his tenth save. Every Inland Empire batter had at least one hit in the loss.
The series continues Wednesday at 6:35 pm. The contest can be heard live at 66ers.com.