LANCASTER — The first hint something was up was the scoreboard.
It was shut down.
For its own safety, as it turned out.
The JetHawks’ bid to climb into a first-place tie in the California League’s South Division with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes was buried under an avalanche of 18 hits in an 18-8 facial Wednesday night at The Hangar.
Jeter Downs and Devin Mann each collected four hits, and Downs, Connor Wong, Nick Yarnall and Marcus Chiu each went deep for Rancho.
It was Chiu’s no-doubter in the direction of Avenue I that capped a six-run first inning that prompted sparks that even lit up the dormant scoreboard
Two pitches earlier, Chiu subtly stuck his elbow out in the path of a pitch, and took his base.
Except that home plate umpire Alex Nash ruled Chiu induced the contact, and summoned him back to the batters box.
When a livid Chiu launched his home run, he flipped his bat more than 10 feet in the air.
Before it came back to earth, JetHawks catcher Austin Bernard was cursing Chiu, and appeared poised to confront him physically back at home plate before the umpire stepped in between.
Chiu’s at-bat leading off the ninth inning flared the emotions anew.
JetHawks reliever Moises Ceja threw one pitch over Chiu’s head, and the other one behind him before he was ejected by Nash.
Ceja challenged the visiting dugout and benches briefly emptied, without incident.
Jarrett Schilling (2-2) was the victim of Rancho’s aftershock attack.
The Lancaster starter was touched for six hits and four runs in three innings, including back-to-back bombs by Yarnall and Wong in the second inning.
Ryan Vilade’s first home run of the season, a solo shot in the second inning, was Lancaster’s only note of protest in the first five innings.
A five-run Rancho fifth inning, and six more in the sixth, made the score 15-1.
Luis Castro’s three-run triple off the wall helped Lancaster get four runs back in the sixth.
Bernard followed a leadoff walk by Taylor Snyder with his third homer of the season in the seventh.