SAN BERNARDINO, CA--
The Lancaster JetHawks scored early, and they scored often, pounding out 17 hits en route to their 11-3 victory over the host Inland Empire 66ers Wednesday night, winning game two of the three-game series.
The JetHawks jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead on CF Jay Austin’s leadoff home run, his 8th of the year. They added another run in the 1st inning on a Lee Cruz run-scoring double to center.
With the tone set against 66ers starting pitcher Ethan Martin, the JetHawks didn’t look back. Martin never could settle into a groove against the potent JetHawks offense, yielding 4 runs on 8 hits and 3 walks over 5 innings, as he picked up the loss to fall to 9-10.
JetHawks starting pitcher Kyle Greenwalt was brilliant for the first 4 innings, not allowing a single 66ers base hit and pitching through poor fielding behind him. The JetHawks defense made 3 errors on night, as well as failing to make multiple other plays that were scored as base hits.
The 66ers finally got something going against Greenwalt in the 5th when DH Steven Caseres’ popup down the left field line fell in among three JetHawks, scoring 1B Austin Gallagher, who had tripled off the glove of Jay Austin in centerfield to lead off the inning. Caseres later scored on Ramon Jean’s two out single. The 66ers added another run against Greenwalt in the 6th, as the right-hander began to fatigue.
Caseres knocked in his second run of the game with a single to left, scoring Johan Garcia. That made it a 4-3 game, ended Greenwalt’s night, and got the crowd of 7,209 into the game. But relief pitcher Brian Wabick entered the game and slammed the door on any 66er momentum, as he got Alex Garebedian to fly out to left, stranding two runners, and ending the threat.
That would be as close as the 66ers got, as Lancaster quickly responded the next half inning against relief pitcher Miguel Sanfler. They put up three runs in the deciding 7th on a two-run single by 3B Andrew Simunic and an RBI double by 1B Mark Ori.
The JetHawks then put an exclamation mark on the evening with 3 runs in the 8th, and another in the 9th against reliever Eric Thompson, who was roughed up for 4 runs in 2.1 innings. The late-inning flurry was highlighted by DH Brian Pellegrini’s two-run blast to center, his 6th home run of the year. Meanwhile, the 66ers could only muster one hit after the 6th inning, as the JetHawks bullpen finished the game strongly.
Player of the Game: Kyle Greenwalt
Player of the game honors go the JetHawks SP Kyle Greenwalt, who kept the 66ers off-balance all night while pitching 5.2 strong innings and picking up the win to improve to 5-6. Greenwalt mixed his pitches well, escaping multiple jams created by his team’s poor fielding, and kept his team close until the offense eventually put the game away in the late innings.
Goat of the Game Award: Jonathan Villar
The goat of the game award goes to the Lancaster’s Jonathan Villar. The SS went 0-4 on the night, striking out twice, and was the only JetHawk without a hit. But even more notable was his disappointing defensive effort.
In the 1st inning he dropped a routine popup while trying to make a fancy catch, which put the leadoff man aboard. When the next batter then hit a tailor-made double play come-backer to Greenwalt, Villar promptly dropped the throw at second base, botching an easy double play, and putting Greenwalt in a completely undeserved early jam.
Perhaps the only bright spot for Villar on the night was scooping up a young run-away child who had escaped the stands behind 3rd base and was making a dash for left-center field. Villar made this play, the youngster was returned safely to mom, and the game continued.
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