SAN BERNARDINO -- Second baseman D.C. Arendas blasted a solo home run to right field with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning to break a 2-2 tie and give the Inland Empire 66ers a 3-2 victory over the Visalia Rawhide on July 17 at San Manuel Stadium.
For Arendas, it was his first home run of the season with the Sixers after he was recently promoted from Low Single A Burlington.
And while he didn't get his preferred pitch to hit, he did make the most of the situation.
"I was looking for a fastball early in the count," he said. "I actually swung over a change up, but got a breaking ball with two strikes and tried to put on my best swing."
The 66ers have struggled overall this season, but Arendas said he thinks the team is now beginning to get into the win column on a more regular basis.
"We're just trying to help the team win," he said. "We've won the last three games (including two victories at Modesto). We just need to keep improving each day."
It was the first victory for the 66ers against Visalia this year after nine straight losses.
The 66ers jumped on the board in the bottom of the first when leadoff batter and left fielder Orlando Martinez led off the inning by crushing the ball over the right field fence.
IE doubled its lead -- 2-0 -- two batters later when right fielder Gareth Morgan homered to the deepest part of the field.
Visalia came back to tie the game 2-2 in top of the third inning on a two-RBI double by first baseman L.T. Tolbert off 66er starter Travis Herrin.
Herrin didn't give up any more runs through six innings of work, striking out five. He was relieved by left-hander Nate Bertness, who threw three shutout innings to close the game out and get the victory, improving to 3-3.
Sixers manager Ryan Barba said he really liked what he saw out there on the mound all night.
"We got a great start from Herrin; he kept them off balance," Barba said. "Then Bertness came in and shut it down for three innings."
Barba added that he was pleased with how Arendas came through in the seventh.
"It was a great clutch hit for us, putting us ahead and getting us the win," Barba said.
Arendas is 25 years old and a native of Greensboro, N.C. This was his first real trip to Southern California, which he said he is loving.
"I like it out here," Arendas said. "The weather is amazing! It seems like it's been 85 every day and sunny. And not humid."
The 66ers will be continuing their homestead at San Manuel Stadium with games on July 18 and 19 against Visalia.
Then on Saturday, July 20, the 66ers will open a three-game set with Modesto and will be giving away Mike Trout jerseys to fans.
For ticket information, visit www.ie66ers.com.
(Shel Segal can be reached at email@example.com.)