The Astros California League farm team evened their first round playoff series with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.
The Astros Advanced-A Lancaster JetHawks on September 8 tied their playoff series with a 17-11 win over Rancho Cucamonga. After losing game one of the series on September 7, the next night the JetHawks put on an impressive offensive display in their home ballpark to send the matchup to a third and conclusive game.
The series opened on September 7 at Ranch Cucamonga’s LoanMart Field. Lancaster’s Brock Dykxhoorn pitched the first seven innings, allowing only four hits, two runs (on two home runs), and two walks, while striking out seven. The JetHawks got a run in the top of the eighth as Jason Martin scored on a Jamie Ritchie double. The run gave Dykxhoorn the lead at 3-2 when he gave way in the bottom of that inning to Kevin McKanna. He blew the save, giving up a double and a run-scoring single before retiring the side.
Neither team managed to score in the next seven and one half innings. In the top of the 16th, a two out Johnny Sewald walk was wasted when Astros #2 prospect Kyle Tucker popped out to end the scoring chance.
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In the bottom of the 16th inning, the game was knotted at 3-3, with reliever Alex Winkelman on the mound after entering the game in the previous frame. Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodger’s rehabbing outfielder, singled but was forced at second when Matt Beaty grounded to second baseman Aaron Mizell. Yusniel Diaz doubled, sending Beaty to third base, followed by an intentional walk to Johan Mieses. The game ended in a walk-off, when the Quakes Noah Perio singled to right field.
For Lancaster, DH Johnny Sewald went 4-7 with a walk and an RBI, catcher C Jamie Ritchie was 3-6 with an RBI, and 2B Mizell hit a solo homer for the other run. JetHawks batters struck out 15 times, including Jason Martin with four, Myles Straw and Tucker three times each.
The following night, back home at The Hangar in Lancaster, the JetHawks fared better. Although four Lancaster pitchers allowed 13 hits and 11 runs, including four Quakes home runs, the home team scored 17 runs on 19 hits, with seven homers.
JetHawks starter Jose Hernandez threw five innings, giving up eight runs on 11 hits (three home runs). He left the game with the lead, and Scott Weathersby, Chris Murphy, and Juan Santos cruised through the final four frames, allowing three runs on only two hits between them.
Ritchie, Mizell (in left field), and DH Christian Correa led the way at the plate for the JetHawks, with three hits apiece. Mizell and Correa both clubbed two home runs, 3B Trent Woodward, catcher Ritchie, and 2B Marc Wik each hit one. The Quakes scored three runs in the top of the 9th inning, but it wasn’t enough to stop Lancaster tying the series at 1-1.
The final game of this preliminary playoff round takes place tonight, September 9 at The Hanger in Lancaster.
**Statistics provided by Baseball-Reference and MLB.com**