By Zach Bigley
In a nearly must-win game with the end of the first half closing in, the Quakes pulled away from Inland Empire early in a 10-1 win on Wednesday night at LoanMart Field.
Lancaster, who leads the South Division, also won on Wednesday, so the Quakes remain two games back of the JetHawks. The JetHawks will come south for a four-game series with Rancho starting Thursday to decide the first-half South Division champion.
On the brink of falling even further behind Lancaster, Dennis Santana (4-4) came out of the bullpen in the second inning and saved the Quakes’ playoff hopes with seven strong innings. The right-hander tied a season-high with eight strikeouts and only allowed one run on three hits. The All-Star was backed up by his offense on the night too.
The Quakes jumped out in front in the first on Major League rehabber Huston Street. Following Errol Robinson singling and stealing second base, Yusniel Diaz doubled to score him and give the Quakes a 1-0 lead. Diaz ended the day 3-for-5 and went 7-for-13 in the series against Inland Empire. Later in the inning, Rancho loaded the bases and Ibandel Isabel laced a two-run single up the middle off of reliever Greyfer Eregua.
DJ Peters provided the Quakes with two more runs in the third with a two-run blast. It was his 11th home run of the season for the All-Star which is second on the team to Isabel’s 15 homers. That made it 5-0, Quakes, but the four-run lead did not last long.
In the fifth, the 66ers got to Santana for a run when Brenden Sanger smacked an RBI double down the right-field line to cut the lead to 5-1, Quakes.
Just as the Quakes had done in the first game of the series when they scored 10 runs, Rancho exploded for a big inning in the sixth. Victor Roache started it off by ramming his fourth home run of the season, a three-run shot, over the right field wall. It gave him a total of 11 RBIs in 10 games with the Quakes this season. Peters then added on as he licked a two-run triple to right to give the Quakes a 10-1 advantage.
Alex Hermeling pitched a scoreless ninth inning to finish the game for the Quakes to nail down the series victory 2-1.
Rancho Cucamonga (34-32) will be back in action on Thursday, June 15th, against the Lancaster JetHawks for the first game of the crucial four-game series at 7:05 pm. Right-hander Adam Bray (2-1) is scheduled to start for the Quakes while the JetHawks will counter with righty Trey Killian (6-2).
It will be a Thirsty Thursday at LoanMart Field, 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, all thanks to Slater’s 50/50. 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