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Hinchliffe Delivers Again for JetHawks

August 29, 1996|JEFF FLETCHER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

RANCHO CUCAMONGA — If the JetHawks don't make the playoffs--and they still need lots of help--it won't be because of the way they played in the final month.

Brett Hinchliffe's solid pitching, and the team's clutch hitting and errorless defense carried the JetHawks to a 7-2 victory over the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Wednesday night at the Epicenter.

The JetHawks (34-32, 70-66 overall) have won 16 of 25 games in August, but they trail High Desert by two games for the California League's Southern Division wild-card spot with a four-game series at San Bernardino remaining.

"It's always good to end on a good note," said JetHawk first baseman Shawn Buhner. "The harder you play the more pressure you put on the other guys."

Hinchliffe gave up one run on five hits in six innings, striking out nine and walking two. It was yet another solid performance for the pitcher who has had a consistent second half.

Since the all-star break, Hinchliffe is 6-3 with a 3.44 earned-run average.

The solid finish was particularly important for Hinchliffe, who has pitched two complete seasons in the league and five at Class A or lower. The Mariners were probably looking closely at Hinchliffe's season to make a judgment on his future.

"It really was [important] for him to finish strong like this," Manager Dave Brundage said. "He's got to feel better about himself. He made some nice improvements. I've had him for two years and he's probably one of the most improved pitchers."

Hinchliffe (11-10) sailed through the first three innings, allowing just a single and striking out six, two on biting changeups.

Hinchliffe gave up a home run to Vince Moore leading off the fourth, but came right back with his seventh strikeout and a pair of groundouts to get out of the inning.

In the fifth and sixth innings, the Quakes put runners at first and second against Hinchliffe. But the right-hander got out of the jam in the fifth by striking out Gary Matthews Jr. In the sixth he struck out Leroy McKinnis and got some help--a diving stop of a grounder by third baseman Carlos Villalobos--to end that threat.

That was all for Hinchliffe, who came out after 100 pitches, turning the game over to the sidearming reliever John Daniels. Daniels pitched the final three innings for his eighth save.

The JetHawks gave their pitchers enough runs in the first three innings against Keith Davis.

In the third, Buhner drove in a run with a single up the middle and catcher Andy Augustine dumped an opposite-field double into right, driving in Buhner to give the JetHawks a 3-0 lead.

JetHawks 7, Rancho Cucamonga 1

JetHawks: 102 100 030 -- 7 10 0

Rancho Cucamonga: 000 100 001 -- 2 8 0

Hinchliffe, Daniels (7) and Augustine; K.Davis, Garrett (4), White (7), Baron (8), Erdos (9) and B.Davis.

W--Hinchliffe (11-10). L--K. Davis (6-15). S--Daniels (8).

2B: J--Villalobos, Buhner. HR:RC--Keefe (2); J--Monahan (14).

Records: JetHawks 34-32; Rancho Cucamonga 29-37.

* JETHAWK REPORT: C11

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