By Zach Bigley
Lancaster, CA- This first game of the 2017 post-season was one to forget for the Quakes as they could not fend off the JetHawks in a 7-3 loss.
Caleb Ferguson (0-1) struggled in his start, allowing five runs on nine hits over six innings while striking out four and walking two, but his defense did not help him.
While the Quakes only committed one error on the board, Lancaster’s speed forced Rancho into many crucial mistakes on defense.
In the first inning, after Brendan Rodgers singled, Yonathan Daza doubled into the gap in right-center field. Rodgers was thrown out at home on a relay from second baseman Brandon Montgomery, but he was called safe because of obstruction from Ferguson, who stood in the baseline between third and home.
The Quakes tied it with a Luke Raley solo home run to right-center field in the fourth inning, but could not score again until the ninth inning.
In the fifth, the JetHawks took the lead for good. Following a Garrett Hampson single, Rodgers singled again, forcing Hampson to third, but when Rodgers overran first, he was caught in a rundown. Hampson broke to the plate and scored ahead of the throw from first baseman Cristian Santana, allowing Rodgers to advance to second. Two batters later, Roberto Ramos doubled him home when left fielder Luke Raley misplayed a fly ball, making it 3-1.
Lancaster added on with two more runs in the sixth inning on an RBI groundout by Hamlet Marte and an RBI double by Chris Rabago.
Already leading 5-1, the JetHawks tacked on with one more in the seventh on a Sam Hilliard RBI single and then a Ramos sacrifice fly in the eighth made it 7-1.
In the ninth inning, the Quakes struck for a pair of runs. Ibandel Isabel singled home Keibert Ruiz and then scored on a Santana RBI double, but Zach McKinstry lined out to left to end the game.
Santana finished his first game as a Quake with three hits (3-for-4) and an RBI.
Peter Lambert (1-0) took the win for the JetHawks, allowing one run on seven hits over seven innings while striking out six and not walking a batter.
Rancho Cucamonga will take on Lancaster on Thursday, September 7th, at 6:35 pm for the second game of the South Division Finals at The Hangar in Lancaster. The Quakes are expected to turn to lefty Devin Smeltzer, while the JetHawks will send right-hander Jesus Tinoco to the hill.
The Quakes will return home on Friday, September 8th, at 7:05 pm for the third game of the South Division Championship Series. Friday will be Thirsty Friday presented by WaBa Grill, as fans can enjoy drink specials throughout the night, featuring $2 Pepsi products, $3 16-oz domestic drafts, $4 16-oz premium drafts, wine, champagne and margaritas! Playoff tickets and Playoff Ticket Packages are now available at 909-481-5000 or rcquakes.com. The Quakes’ playoff run is sponsored by WaBa Grill. Go Quakes!