Sixers Take Series Lead

Game one of the second round series between the Inland Empire 66ers and the Lancaster JetHawks took place Saturday night. The winner of this series will move on and play for the California League Championship.

The Inland Empire 66ers took a 1-0 series lead over the Lancaster JetHawks with a come-from-behind 7-6 victory on Saturday night.

Left-hander Thomas Oldham pitched 6.1 solid innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out 10, while the bats rescued the shaky relief appearance of righty Darwin Soto.

With the score tied at three heading into the eighth, Michael Garciaparra hit a three-run home run to give the Sixers a 6-3 lead. Normally a three run cushion is plenty in the playoffs but Soto couldn't hold the JetHawks in the bottom of the ninth and served up three runs to the home team.

Good thing Gary Harris followed Garciaparra's bomb with a blast of his own that handed his club a four run lead before the top of the eighth was over.

Oldham kept Lancaster down giving the offense time to make their move but did not factor into the decision.

Soto was relieved by Melvin Pizarro with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Pizarro earned a save by striking out the final two batters of the game.

Harris had three hits on the night and is hitting .500 in the three playoff games thus far. Carlos Arroyo started at DH and had three hits of his own while three other 66ers had two hits apiece.

Wladimir Balentien went 2-for-3 with a walk, Matt Hagen had two hits in four at-bats and drove in a run and Garciaparra went 2-for-3 with four runs batted in.

Inland Empire pitching struck out 13 Lancaster batters on the night and set the tone early with Oldham leading the way with seven strikeouts through five shutout innings.


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