Cal League Baseball: Quakes Come Up Short in Home Opener as Rancho Drops Fourth Straight

The 66ers Held off a Ninth-inning Rancho Cucamonga Rally to Win 5-4

By Mike Lindskog

Rancho Cucamonga, CA – The Inland Empire 66ers held off a ninth-inning Rancho Cucamonga rally on Thursday night, spoiling the Quakes’ home opener with a 5-4 win at LoanMart Field.

Trailing 5-2 in the last of the ninth, Rancho’s offense finally put something together. Gavin Lux opened the inning with a single, then scored on a double down the left-field line off the bat of Rylan Bannon, making it 5-3. A wild pitch moved Bannon to third, before Hamlet Marte’s sac fly brought him home to make it a one-run game, at 5-4. Inland Empire reliever Kyle Halbohn regrouped and got the final out, striking out Donovan Casey to secure the win and earn his first save of the year.

The Quakes got some good pitching from starter Jordan Sheffield in the early going, but fell behind in the third, as one of their three errors factored into the scoring. Jared Walsh opened the scoring with a solo homer, making it 1-0. Jack Kruger followed with a ground ball that was thrown away by Lux at shortstop. Jonah Todd followed with an RBI double, giving the Sixers a 2-0 lead.

Rancho got a run back in the third, as Casey reached on a hit and then scored on one of Inland Empire’s three errors on the night, making it a 2-1 game.

Inland Empire got two more off Sheffield in the fourth, as they loaded the bases with no outs. Sheffield (0-1) struck out Luis Rengifo for the first out, but was removed in favor of Nolan Long. Long walked the first hitter he faced, then allowed a sac fly to Walsh, giving Inland Empire a 4-1 advantage.

The Quakes did get a run back in the bottom of the inning against Inland Empire starter Jose Suarez. Cody Thomas walked with two outs and after advancing to third on an error, scored on another error, making it 4-2.

Tyler Stevens came on in relief in the fifth for the Sixers and gave up a lead-off triple to Jeren Kendall, but fanned the next three hitters to recover. Stevens (1-0) went on to strike out two more in the sixth and eventually was rewarded with the win.

Rancho (2-6) looks to break the four-game skid on Friday, sending Tony Gonsolin (0-0) to the mound against Inland Empire’s Connor Riley (0-0) at 7:05pm.

Friday night is Family RV $1 Family Feast Night, as hot dogs, Pepsi products and ice cream sandwiches are just one dollar all night long. Only a few tickets remain, as the game is almost sold out.

Tickets can be purchased by calling (909) 481-5000 or online at We hope to see you at LoanMart Field…Go Quakes!

Press Release Provided By the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes