The Lancaster JetHawks dropped the opening game of the California League Championship Series to the Modesto Nuts on Tuesday by a score of 13-6. Yes, 13-6; that’s the Cal League for you. Both teams had a 6-run inning, but the Rockies affiliate’s didn’t come until the bottom of the ninth when they were already facing an insurmountable deficit.
Things got off to a rough start for Peter Lambert (no. 5 PuRP). After a 1-2-3 first inning, he gave up three straight one-out doubles before Luis Liberato, the ninth hitter in the lineup, hit a home run over the famously close centerfield wall to give the Nuts a 4-0 lead. They added one in the fourth off a Joe Rizzo home run and two in the fifth off a Joey Curletta two-out double, and that was the night for Lambert. Unless he comes back for a potential Game 4 or 5, his season will end on a 42⁄3 inning start with seven runs allowed and just two strikeouts.
The sixth inning is when things really broke open. Brad Schreiber walked/hit-by-pitched the bases loaded then allowed a two run single before walking the bases loaded again the very next batter. He was lifted for Max Schuh, who walked in a run, struck out big-basher Joey Curletta before uncorking a wild pitch and then allowing a bases clearing single to Joe Rizzo. Rizzo finished the night 3-for-5 with a home run, a double, and four RBI. The score was now 13-0.
The JetHawks couldn’t get anything going off Nuts’ starter Nathan Bannister, who scattered five hits over six innings without allowing a walk. Lancaster finally was able to string some hits together in the bottom of the ninth to keep the game going (if you never stop hitting, the game never ends, right?). Sam Hilliard (no. 26 PuRP) knocked a three-run home run to right to get them on the Board. The Hawks followed that up with a triple, walk, double, groundout, and single to make it 13-6 with top prospect Brendan Rodgers at the plate. Unfortunately he grounded out to end the game.
The two teams will face of at Lancaster on Wednesday at 7:35 pm MT. Brandon Gold, who has made 12 starts for the JetHawks since his promotion from Low-A Asheville, will take the mound against Spencer Herrmann of the Nuts.
★ ★ ★
Brendan Rodgers (no. 1 PuRP): 0-for-4
Peter Lambert (no. 5 PuRP): 42⁄3 IP, 8 H, 7 R/ER, 2 BB, 2 K
Garrett Hampson (no. 13 PuRP): 2-for-5, RBI
Sam Hilliard (no. 26 PuRP): 1-for-3, HR, 3 RBI, SB
Wes Rogers (HM PuRP): 1-for-4, R, 2B
Yonathan Daza: 1-for-3, R, RBI
★ ★ ★
High-A Lancaster: Brandon Gold (8-8, 4.37 ERA) vs. Modesto (SEA), 7:35 pm MT