66ers win a thriller, 6-5 in 14 innings

Matt Long’s third hit of the game, a line single with one out in the 14th, scored Kole Calhoun from second base as the 66ers defeated Lake Elsinore 6-5. It completed a four-game sweep for the Sixers (22-27) before 3,084 at Arrowhead Credit Union Park. It was their first sweep of any kind this season, their first four-game winning streak of the season and their first four-game sweep of Lake Elsinore since 2006.

It was also the Sixers’ longest game of the season in terms of innings. They are 2-2 in extra inning games, all of which have been at home.

Long also hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning that tied the score, 4-4. But Long was just the last of many heroes in the game for the Sixers, which included:

The bullpen of Michael Piazza, Mike Kenney, David Carpenter, Kevin Johnson, Buddy Boshers and Kevin Nabors, who combined to pitch 11 innings of relief and allowed just one run. Nabors (1-1), who entered the game with a 24.55 ERA, came into the game with two outs in the top of the 14th to face Jedd Gyorko, who is third in the league in batting, tied for second in home runs. With runners on first and third, Nabors got Gyorko to ground out to third.

“I told him, ‘you’re going to get the final out and we’re going to score and you’re going to get the win,’” Sixers manager Tom Gamboa said. “I’m glad we did.”

Another hero was Steven Irvine, in his first game back with the Sixers, singled with two outs in the ninth inning to drive in Adam Younger (who had doubled) and tie the score 5-5. Irvine finished 3 for 6.

In the 14th, Calhoun drew a one-out walk against Dustin Pease (0-3), his fourth walk of the game. Casey Haerther’s infield single sent Calhoun to second. With a runner on second base in both the 10th and 12th innings, Long was intentionally walked and the Sixers didn’t score. This time there was no base open and Long lined a single to right and Calhoun avoided the tag of catcher Jason Hagerty to set off the wild celebration.

“He (Long) is a streaky hitter. It looks like he’s in one of those good streaks again,” Gamboa said.

Songco, Quakes have historic night

The Quakes set a franchise record with 25 runs and Angelo Songco recorded the Quakes’ first cycle in five years in a 25-9 rout of Lancaster on Wednesday night.

The Quakes hit five home runs in the game. Songco went 5 for 7 with four RBIs and four runs and completed the cycle with a triple in an 11-run ninth. Songco was the first Quake to hit for the cycle since Nate Sutton did it Sept. 4, 2006 at Lancaster.

Rafael Ynoa had only one hit but drove in five runs. Gorman Erickson had three hits, including a home run and drove in four. The Quakes took advantage of two errors to also score six unearned runs. They had “only” 19 hits, but drew 13 walks.

What goes around comes around for Quakes

A night after an error helped the Quakes to an improbable victory, an error on their side led them to a 5-4 loss on Friday to Visalia. Despite the loss, the Quakes (26-16) still lead the South Division by seven games.

On Friday, the Quakes led 2-1 with runners on first and third and two outs in the seventh when Yucaipa High product Matt Davidson hit a high popup toward the first base side and behind the pitcher’s mound. The infielders converged on the ball. It appeared it should have been second baseman Rafael Ynoa’s play, but it was first baseman Austin Gallagher who called for it. At the last second, he lunged to his right for the ball and missed it and the tying run scored on the error.

A two-run double by Bobby Borchering and an RBI single by Keon Broxton followed to give Visalia a 5-2 lead. In all, four unearned runs scored as a result of the error.

The Quakes didn’t die. Tony Delmonico’s RBI fielder’s choice in the eighth cut the deficit to 5-3. In the ninth, the Quakes had runners on first and second and no outs, when they appeared to try a bunt-and-run. But when Rafael Ynoa missed the pitch, Gorman Erickson was thrown out at third base trying to steal. That proved costly as Ynoa then doubled home Travis Denker to make it 5-4. But closer Taylor Sinclair struck out pinch hitter J.T. Wise and retired Nick Buss on a fly out to left for the victory.

On Thursday, the Quakes won a game they should have lost. With two outs in the ninth, Visalia shortstop Brent Greer threw wildly to second on Denker’s fielder’s choice grounder and Ynoa scored the tying run, making it 2-2. They went on to win it in the 10th on Jake Lemmerman’s walk-off single.

Quakes duplicate 66ers comeback feat

When the 66ers rallied from a 16-7 deficit in the fifth inning to down Bakersfield 24-19 on April 16, it was certainly one for the ages. Of course, it set the league record for longest nine-inning game (4:55), but it seemed unlikely another team in the league would come back from nine runs down any time soon.

But on Thursday, less than 3 weeks later, the Quakes did exactly that. They trailed 10-1 at Lancaster after two innings and it was still 10-1 as they went to the fifth, but rallied to win, 17-11 to sweep a four-game series. It was a little different than the Sixers’ comeback. The Sixers scored 10 in the fifth in their comeback to take the lead, then broke a 19-19 tie with five runs in the ninth.

The Quakes didn’t do it as much as quickly, but unlike Bakersfield, Lancaster had no answer, with only one baserunner during the final four innings. A five-run Quakes fifth made it 10-6 and it was still 11-7 entering the eighth. After Lancaster retired the first batter, Pedro Guerrero, the Quakes really started hitting.

The next four batters hit for the cycle: Nick Buss double, Jake Lemmerman RBI triple, Angelo Songco RBI single and Blake Smith’s two-run homer that tied the score 11-11. After a Gorman Erickson walk, JetHawks closer Kirk Clark came in and J.T. Wise belted the first pitch he saw for a two-run homer that gave the Quakes the lead for good, 13-11. They scored four more runs against Clark in the ninth to win going away.

Songco and Buss had four hits apiece in the Quakes’ 19-hit attack. In addition to the two-run homers from Smith and Wise, Travis Denker and Buss also hit two-run homers. Smith drove in a game-high four runs. Jordan Roberts (1-0) retired all 11 batters he faced to earn the win in relief.

The win improved the Quakes to 18-10, good enough for a five-game South Division lead over the 66ers (13-15), who finished a 2-5 homestand with a 10-3 loss to Stockton on Thursday.

Quakes win third straight, 66ers lose epic game

The way the 2011 season began, it looked like it was going to be a tight race in the California League South Division.

The gap has been getting bigger and bigger in recent days. The Quakes (17-10) won their third straight on Wednesday, defeating Lancaster 10-1. The win increased the Quakes’ lead over the second place 66ers (13-14) to four games.

The Quakes scored all of their runs in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 9th innings, at least two runs each time. Rafael Ynoa was 3 for 5 with two runs and an RBI to lead the way for the Quakes, while Ramon Jean hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot. Gorman Erickson, Tony Delmonico and Jake Lemmerman added two hits apiece and Nick Buss drove in three runs. Quakes starter Allen Webster (4-2) pitched five shutout innings, allowing four hits while striking out seven.

The Sixers, meanwhile, dropped an epic battle by a 9-7 score to Stockton in 13 innings at Arrowhead Credit Union Park. The Sixers held an early 5-2 lead, then fell behind 7-6. They rallied in the ninth to send the game to extra innings. Kole Calhoun’s third hit of the game, a leadoff double in the ninth led to P.J. Phillips’ game-tying sacrifice fly.

While Phillips tied the score in the ninth, he blew an opportunity to win it in the 12th.

With the score still tied in the 12th, Phillips led off with a double to left, a shot that looked like it might’ve gone out, but instead hit the wall. He went to third on Mitch Blackburn’s infield single with one out, then Justin Bass lofted a fly ball to right. Only Phillips went part way down the line and didn’t tag up to try and score until it was too late and he had to hold. Jean Segura lined out to end the threat.

Stockton scored two in the top of the 13th against reliever Johnny Hellweg (1-2). The go-ahead run scored on Connor Crumbliss’ run-scoring single with one out. Hellweg worked three innings of relief, allowing two runs, one earned.

The game looked like a pitchers battle from the outset, with two of the top seven pitchers in the league in ERA starting. But Redlands-born Stockton starter Daniel Straily allowed six runs in four innings and Sixers starter Manuel Flores allowed five earned  runs in five innings.