LANCASTER – The JetHawks were unable to muster any late-inning magic in their home finale Thursday night, as Inland Empire won, 5-4, at The Hangar.
Lancaster needs a sweep of the Storm in their final series of the year in order to make the playoffs.
Inland Empire (28-38, 54-81) scored two runs in the top of the first inning, but the JetHawks (33-33, 67-67) had a quick answer. Luis Castro drove in a run with a single in the bottom of the first inning, giving him 93 RBIs this season.
In the second, the JetHawks took the lead. Luke Morgan tied the game with a triple to right field. Austin Bernard brought Morgan home with a groundout.
Ryan Vilade gave the JetHawks another run in the third inning. Vilade hit Lancaster’s first inside-the-park home run of the season. His drive hit off the outfield wall and got away from centerfielder Torii Hunter Jr.
Despite the good start, Lancaster was held without a run over the final six innings. For a while, it looked as though four runs would be enough. Will Gaddis allowed just two runs in six innings, but the bullpen was unable to hold the two-run lead.
Moises Ceja pitched a scoreless seventh inning but allowed three men to reach in the eighth inning. Nick Kennedy (1-4) faced the next two batters, but could not record an out. The 66ers scored three times on just two hits and an error in the inning to take the lead.
Jorge Tavarez (4-2) pitched two scoreless innings to earn the win. Luke Lind worked around a Joel Diaz single in the ninth to finish off the JetHawks.
With the loss, the JetHawks are 34-36 at home in 2019. It’s the first time since 2011 that Lancaster has had a losing record at The Hangar.
The JetHawks finish the season with a four-game series in Lake Elsinore that starts Friday. Lancaster needs to win all four games against the Storm to make the playoffs. Game one at The Diamond starts at 7 pm.
JetHawks single-game tickets, group tickets, ticket packages and season tickets are on sale now. Visit jethawks.com or call 661-726-5400 for more information.