The game took nearly five hours and ended close to 1am, and it was hotly contested right up until the final batter.
In an abridged recap that tackles just the scoring innings, the Blaze grabbed the first run. Billy Hamilton singled to lead off the bottom of the first, stole second for his 104th of the year, and after a balk, Theo Bowe singled him home. That was all Josh Bowman would allow, the Stockton starter eventually going 7.0 innings and striking out a season-high 11.
In the 5th, the Ports got even. Michael Gilmartin hit a liner to right off Blaze starter Chad Rogers, and though the ball appeared to strike the catwalk and come back into play, basepath umpire John Bostwick ruled it a home run, and the score was tied 1-1. One inning later the Ports added another on a hit batsman, a walk, and a RBI single for Tony Thompson, though the Blaze bullpen then came on and locked things down for the next 5 innings.
Mike Griffin worked 2, Andrew Brackman worked 2, Kyle McMyne worked 1, and it turned out to be a key spot, as the Blaze tied it in the bottom of the 9th. With 2 outs, Zach Thornton got Travis Mattair to hit a little roller over the mound, but the Moose beat the throw, and Donald Lutz followed with a game-tying triple, and with the score tied 2-2, we were headed to extras.
The Ports scored first in extra innings, putting together a 3-hit rally in the 11th off Blaine Howell, but Niko Vasquez came right back in the bottom half with a solo shot to knot the game at 3 and send it further into the night.
After 3 scoreless innings by both teams, Pedro Vidal (W, 1-0) working the bulk of them for the Ports, Stockton finally broke through in the 15th. Daniel Wolford (L, 6-5) was called upon as the 7th pitcher for the Blaze, and Dan just didn't have it, tonight. The first batter of the inning launched a solo homer to put Stockton up 4-3, and after a walk, a RBI double, and another homer, Wolford was lifted with the Blaze trailing by a bunch.
Bakersfield got 1 in the bottom of the 15th off Connor Hoehn, and loaded the bases, but the Ports made one final pitching change for Nate Long (S, 1), and Theo Bowe, the potential winning run, flied out to left to end the wild epic. In all, the Blaze were fanned 24 times, a season high, but both teams played their hearts out, and it was, without question, one of the few games where everyone deserved to win.
The loss drops the Blaze to 6-10 in the second half, and 47-39 overall, and deals the Blaze its 5th straight loss.
The homestand continues Saturday night on George Culver Bobblehead night, with the first 500 fans through the gate receiving the novelty!
Can't make it? Listen live to the Blaze Game of the Week on the flagship station SmartTalk AM-1230 or across the world at BakersfieldBlaze.com, as Dan Besbris calls all the action. Pregame show is set for 7:35pm, first pitch 10 minutes thereafter.
It's Josh Smith and Burch Smith with the Lake Elsinore Storm coming to town. Don't miss it!