The Inland Empire 66ers have started out the 2015 on fire, earning their fifth straight win with a 4-2 triumph over the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes at San Manuel Stadium on Tuesday, April 14.
66ers starting pitcher Christopher Ellis limited the Quakes to two runs on five hits and a walk while mixing in six strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings but settled for no-decision.
Rancho Cucamonga took the lead after it scored two runs in the second. A two-out, two-run triple by shortstop Dillon Moyer would end up being the only damage the Quakes offense would muster against Ellis and the 66ers bullpen. Inland Empire tied the game at 2-2 in the fourth behind a two-out rally off Quakes starter Jose DeLeon. Back-to-back singles by Kody Eaves and Brandon Bayardi scored Kaleb Cowart and Eric Aguilera, who hit consecutive one-out singles earlier in the inning.
An error by Quakes second baseman Jerek Cunningham with one out in the sixth allowed Mike Fish to reach base and provided the spark the 66ers needed to take jump ahead. Bayardi moved Fish over to third with his second hit of the game. That brought Mark Shannon to the plate, and he executed a perfect hit-and-run by roping a two-run double down the right field line off Quakes lefty reliever Ramon Benjamin.
Staked with the two-run lead, the 66ers bullpen was sharp over three scoreless frames. Austin Adams struck out four over 2 1/3 innings to earn the win and Geoff Broussard tossed a perfect ninth to pick up the save.
The bullpen has been strength early on for Inland Empire, with a combined ERA of 0.36 through the season’s first six games.
The 66ers travel hit the road to play at Modesto and San Jose before returning home against the High Desert Mavericks on April 23.