Lancaster, CA- Inland Empire won for the first time this season at Lancaster, dominating the JetHawks (26-40) by a final of 13-7 for the first win at Lancaster this year by the 66ers (31-36). The team was led offensively by Kole Calhoun who homered in the second to stretch his team best hit streak to 12 Thursday night.
The 66ers had a lot to think about on the long bus ride to Lancaster. Inland Empire had just been swept by Rancho Cucamonga at the Epicenter for the first time in three years, and had to watch their rivals celebrate a first half title. But Inland Empire responded in fine fashion against Lancaster with an offensive explosion in the early innings.
In the second, already ahead 1-0, Inland Empire had a run of seven consecutive batters with a positive plate appearance. Jose Jimenez walked and then came around to score on an RBI double by Adam Younger, snapping a 0 for his last 12 slump for the 66ers shortstop. After Steven Irvine was hit by a pitch, Rian Kiniry walked to load the bases.
With a 66ers at every bag, Justin Bass lofted a fly ball to right field that was deep enough to score Younger from third for a 3-0 lead. Next Matt Long chased in Irvine and Kiniry with a two run double, chasing JetHawks starter Jose Cisnero from the game.
With a new reliever on the mound Lancaster saw the same results from Inland Empire. On the first pitch thrown by Wander Alvino, Kole Calhoun cranked a home run to right to give the 66ers a 7-0 advantage. The home run also gave Calhoun a season best 12 game hit streak, and he has now reached base safely in 21 consecutive games, one of the 20 longest such streaks this year in the California League.
After that point it was a matter of hanging on to the lead that was already established for the 66ers pitchers and defense, and that's exactly what they did. Manuel Flores wound his way through six innings, allowing five runs, three earned, on eight hits and a walk while striking out seven. The performance was good enough for his seventh win of the year, the most in the southern division.
Tomorrow the 66ers will try for two in a row in Lancaster with the first pitch is set for 7:00 pm and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians pre-game show starting at 6:50 pm on AM 1050 KCAA. Inland Empire returns home after the all star break on Thursday, June 23rd for a JBS Heating and Air Thirsty Thursday matchup with the Lake Elsinore Storm. For information on 66ers tickets or to schedule your next fun filled group outing, contact the 66ers front office at (909)888-9922.