By Zach Bigley
In a game with playoff implications, LoanMart Field hosted a playoff-like atmosphere on Thursday night. The Quakes pulled away late to win a close game over Lancaster, 4-1, in the first game of a crucial four-game set.
Entering the series, the Quakes needed to take at least three-out-of-four from the JetHawks to force a tie at the end of the first half. That is now reduced to two-out-of-the-last-three games after the win on Thursday. If the Quakes sweep, they will clinch the South Division crown in the first half.
Rancho jumped out in front on offense in the first inning against Lancaster starter Trey Killian. With Luke Raley at second base after doubling with two outs, Omar Estevez dribbled a ground ball to second and beat out the throw for an infield single. Raley came in to score from second and the Quakes had the lead at 1-0.
In the second, the JetHawks tied it up on an RBI single against Quakes’ starter Adam Bray, and the 1-1 tie would continue until the seventh inning.
Victor Roache led off the seventh inning with a long solo home run to left-center field. It was his fifth of the season and his second in as many nights to give the Quakes a 2-1 lead.
In the eighth, Rancho scored two more on a lead-off home run from Raley and a Will Smith RBI double to make it 4-1.
Andrew Istler came on in the ninth and pitched through a two-out triple from Brendan Rodgers (who extended his hitting streak to 23 games) to pick up his seventh save of the season.
Ivan Vieitez (1-0) earned the win by throwing two scoreless innings in relief and Logan Cozart (1-2) gave up all three runs late and was handed the loss for Lancaster.
The JetHawks had the Quakes’ number through the first seven games of the season series, winning five, but this was the first time that Lancaster came south to Rancho. Lancaster fell to 12-20 on the road this season while the Quakes improved to 22-10 at home after tonight.
Rancho Cucamonga (35-32) will be back in action on Friday, June 16th, against Lancaster (36-31) for the second game of the important four-game series at 7:05 pm. Right-hander Yadier Alvarez (1-3) is scheduled to start for the Quakes while the JetHawks will counter with righty Peter Lambert (4-6).
Friday will be a Family RV $1 Family Feast Night at LoanMart Field, featuring $1 hot dogs, $1 Pepsi products and $1 ice cream sandwiches throughout the night. In addition, it’s Scout Night, as local scouts will be in attendance and will spend the night at LoanMart Field. The MVP gates will open at 5:45 and the main gates will open at 6:05. Tickets are available at 909-481-5000 or rcquakes.com. Go Quakes!
Press Release Provided By the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes