By Pete Marshall
SAN BERNARDINO – Wins for the 66ers have been precious so far this season, so any victory – pretty or ugly – is appreciated.
The Sixers took a three-run lead to the ninth inning on Thursday then held on for an 8-7 victory over the Lake Elsinore Storm before 1,272 at Arrowhead Credit Union Park. It was just the second win in the last 10 games for the Sixers (9-19), while the first-place Storm dropped to 15-13.
The Storm trailed 8-5 entering the ninth, when Tom King and Eric Sogard led off with walks against Francisco Felix (1-2).
Then Sam Carter thought he was hit by a 3-2 pitch that would’ve loaded the bases.
But plate umpire Bronson Martinez ruled it a foul tip that was caught by catcher Carlos Santana, resulting in the first out. Manager Carlos Lezcano, coaching third base, argued to no avail.
“He was so wild and he’s going to swing at that pitch? It hit him right here,” Lezcano said, pointing to his forearm. “That changes everything.”
Mitch Canham followed with an RBI single that made it 8-6. Left-hander Jacobo Meque, making his first Sixers appearance of the season entered and surrendered a run-scoring groundout by Jeremy Hunt that cut the Storm deficit to 8-7. Meque walked Rayner Contreras to put the go-ahead run on base, but got Robert Perry to fly out to end the threat.
The Storm had taken a 5-4 lead in the top of the seventh on Jeremy Hunt’s RBI single, but an error proved costly to the Storm in the bottom half as the Sixers rallied against reliever Richie Daigle (1-4).
Christian Lara led off with a bloop single to left and was wild-pitched to second as Bridger Hunt was trying to bunt.
Hunt then bunted anyway and third baseman Contreras’ throw to first went wildly into the right-field bullpen. Lara scored the tying run and Hunt, noticing that third base was uncovered, raced all the way to third.
A bloop single to right-center by Trayvon Robinson plated Hunt and gave the Sixers a 6-5 lead.
After a fly out, Robinson was caught stealing. Drew Locke walked and Carlos Santana and Eduardo Perez delivered back-to-back RBI doubles for an 8-5 Sixers lead.
The final three runs in the inning were all unearned.
Santana had three hits and three RBI to pace the Sixers attack, while Robinson, Perez and Matt Berezay each had two hits.
QUAKES 4-4, LANCASTER 3-0
Trevor Bell (2-2) pitched a four-hitter in the nightcap, striking out eight and walking none as the Quakes (10-18) swept a pair of seven-inning games at Clear Channel Stadium on Thursday. The Quakes swept the three-game series, winning on Tuesday while Wednesday’s game was postponed to Thursday’s doubleheader because of severe wind. The JetHawks (11-17) will be playing at the Epicenter starting tonight for the opener of a three-game series.
Abel Nieves had three hits and drove in two runs for the Quakes in the Game 1 victory.
David Herndon (1-3) earned the victory by allowing five hits and one
run in six innings.
In Game 2, Peter Bourjos had three hits and scored three runs while P.J. Phillips had two hits and two RBI.