Rancho Cucamonga, CA – For a second straight day, the Inland Empire 66ers staved off elimination, as they dropped Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday afternoon, taking the rubber-match of the three-game series by a score of 7-4 at LoanMart Field.
A three-run tenth against reliever Andrew Istler was the difference in the game, as Rancho Cucamonga failed to clinch a spot in the playoffs for the second straight home game.
Tied at 3-3 in the ninth, Tony Gonsolin got taken deep by Michael Barash to give the Sixers the lead, but the Quakes countered in the bottom of the inning to tie the game, as Luke Raley doubled home Zach Reks to knot the game at 4-4 against eventual winner Sean isaac (1-0).
Rancho missed an opportunity to win the game in the ninth, as Raley moved to third base on a wild pitch with one out. Quincy Latimore struck out though and after a two-out walk to Keibert Ruiz, Omar Estevez popped up to send the game to the tenth.
Istler (4-6) got the first two outs of the inning, but Jared Walsh reached after striking out on a pitch in the dirt. Istler proceeded to walk the next two hitters, before allowing a two-run single to Keith Grieshaber to put Inland Empire ahead to stay. Dean Kremer came on and allowed a bunt-single to Jake Yacinich, which plated another run, as Inland Empire took a 7-4 lead.
Rancho’s Jose Brizuela reached on his third hit of the day, a two-out hit in the tenth against 66ers’ reliever Mike Kaelin. Zach Reks followed with a long drive to center that was hauled in by Jamai Jones, ending the game and giving Kaelin his second save of the year.
Quakes’ pitcher Dustin May, originally scheduled to make his Cal League debut by starting Sunday’s game, came out of the bullpen in relief, after a scoreless inning from Dodgers’ reliever Adam Liberatore. May pitched well, allowing just one earned run on five hits over six innings. The right-hander struck out seven without walking a batter.
The magic number for the Quakes to clinch a spot in the playoffs remains at two, as any combination of two Rancho wins or two Inland Empire losses will eliminate the 66ers and send the Quakes to the playoffs for the third straight year.
After an off-day on Monday, the Quakes will open a three-game road trip to Lancaster on Tuesday night. Adam Bray (7-3) is scheduled to throw for the Quakes, while Lancaster will go with lefty Ty Culbreath (6-1) wit first pitch scheduled for 6:35pm.
The Quakes will return to LoanMart Field for their final home stand of the regular season on Friday, September 1st, as they host the Lake Elsinore Storm. Friday is another Family RV $1 Family Feast, as fans will enjoy hot dogs, Pepsi products and ice cream sandwiches for just one dollar each. Game time on Friday is 7:05pm and tickets are available by calling (909) 481-5000 or online at rcquakes.com.
Press Release Provided By the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes