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Quakes rumble to first home win

Baseball fans gather for the season opener of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes at the Epicenter in Ranch Cucamonga on April 14. Quakes veteran Tim Bittner takes time to sign autographs for fans before the game. Bittner’s career started in the minors with the Chicago White Sox and eventually led him to the Quakes, which is now part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. The Quakes shook the Lancaster Jethawks, 5-3, and won two of the three games in the series. / Photo by David Bess

Elsie Ramos
Sports Editor

It was opening night at the Epicenter in Rancho Cucamonga as the Quakes played their first official home game as new minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers and were able to edge out a 5-3 win against the Lancaster Jethawks in front of 3,824 fans April 14.

The Quakes were led by pitcher Greg Wilborn who gave up five hits, no runs, three walks and struck out three in seven innings of work, and designated hitter J.T. Wise, who went 2-4 with two runs batted in.

“I was leaving the ball up in the first inning,” Wilborn said.

“I wasn’t getting ahead of hitters. I just battled the rest of the game and tried to keep the ball down, but my fielders behind me were clutch.”

Wilborn got off to a shaky start giving up three consecutive hits in the first inning but was bailed out when right fielder Blake Smith threw out Lancaster second baseman Jo Altuve at home plate, ending the Jethawk rally.

Smith also threw out Jethawks left fielder Jake Goebbert in the sixth inning.

“I really didn’t think they would run on me again,” Smith said. “The ball actually came off the wall back to me pretty quick, so I turned, realized he was going and let it go. It was right on the money.”

Wilborn then settled down and did not give up another hit until the fifth inning.

The Quakes offense came alive in the bottom of the second inning where they came up with three runs on four hits.

“I was just trying to get ahead with my fastball, make my pitches and let my players make plays behind me,” Wilborn said.

First baseman Austin Gallagher led the inning off with a homerun to right field, left fielder Angelo Songco followed with a single to left and was brought home by an RBI double to left by catcher Gorman Erickson.

The Quakes would add one more run in the inning and two more in the eighth, which proved to be crucial as the Jethawks scored three runs in the ninth.

“I was looking for something to drive,” Gallagher said. “He left me a fastball over the plate and I got a good swing on it.”

Gallagher went 2-5 with one strike out and is hitting .375 for the season.

“(Lancaster Pitcher Robby Donovan) was throwing a lot of strikes, so we were able to put the ball in play and look for good pitches to drive,” Gallagher said.

Donovan pitched four innings, gave up three runs, four walks and struck out two.

Lancaster was able to get the bases loaded on three consecutive walks and they did not let them go to waste. Third baseman Jonathan Meyer singled to left bringing in a run.

The Jethawks would then play station-to-station baseball and bring in two more runs.

Right-hander Steve Ames was able to end the Lancaster rally and the game as he got Altuve to fly out to left field.

The Quakes took two of the three games against Lancaster, losing Friday, 4-3, but winning Saturday, 5-4. Rancho then took two out of three from Lake Elsinore, giving them an 8-6 record.

Elsie Ramos can be reached at elsie.ramos@laverne.edu.

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