LANCASTER – Sam Hilliard led off the bottom of the 12th with a triple and scored on a wild pitch to give the Lancaster JetHawks a 5-4 victory over the Inland Empire 66ers on Saturday night at The Hangar.
The win coupled with Rancho Cucamonga’s loss at home to Lake Elsinore clinched the South Division Championship for the JetHawks in the overall standings. The JetHawks will have home field advantage in next week’s South Division Finals against the Quakes. Games one and two will be at The Hangar on Wednesday and Thursday. Also, a potential game five would be played in Lancaster on Sunday, September 10.
The JetHawks took a 4-0 lead to the ninth inning, but Inland Empire scored four runs to tie the game. Three came on a game-tying home run by Kyle Survance Jr, just his fourth long ball this season.
Lancaster opened the scoring in the fourth inning. Roberto Ramos hit a one-out triple and scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly by Hamlet Marte. They added three insurance runs in the eighth. Brendan Rodgers delivered a sacrifice fly and Yonathan Daza followed with a two-run homer to left, his third of the season.
Trey Killian started for the JetHawks and issued a leadoff walk to open the game before retiring the next eight hitters he faced. The right-hander went five scoreless innings and allowed just one hit. He walked two and struck out two.
Helmis Rodriguez followed with three scoreless frames of his own out of the bullpen, striking out three. Brad Schreiber struggled in the ninth, surrendering all four Inland Empire runs. Logan Cozart tossed a pair of scoreless innings with three strikeouts and Marc Magliaro (4-2) picked up the win with a perfect top of the 12th.
Austin Robichaux (6-9) suffered the loss for the 66ers. He came on for the bottom of the 12th and gave up the leadoff triple to Hilliard. Inland Empire employed a five-man infield against Hamlet Marte, who struck out on the wild pitch that allowed Hilliard to score the winning run. Jose Rodriguez started and threw just 87 pitches in his eight innings of work. He allowed four runs on eight hits.
Daza led the JetHawks with three of their 10 hits. He league-leading batting average sits at .342. Roberto Ramos extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
Here’s the box score.
The four-game series continued on Sunday night at The Hangar.