The game, in all, featured a combined 31 hits between the two ballclubs, and truly was not decided until the final out was recorded in the 9th. The Blaze trailed by two heading into the 9th inning and managed to trim the Mavericks lead to just one on a Steve Selsky RBI single (his fourth hit of the night), but Devin Lohman was unable to play the hero, and the Blaze fell just short.
To get to that point, the two teams had to go to work more than once. In the first inning, the Blaze struck, scoring four unearned runs on two High Desert errors, a double and Selsky's 14th homer of the year.
But the Mavs did not wait around to put their own stamp on the early innings. In the top of the 2nd, a double, three critical infield singles and a three-run homer off the bat of James Jones put High Desert on top, 5-4. Then, just one inning later, the Mavs tacked on four more on four singles and a Mario Martinez two-run blast to center. Just like that, the Blaze trailed 9-5.
All nine early runs were charged to Blaze starter Daniel Renken (L, 4-9), whose recent struggles seemed to only creep up after the infield hits delivered an odd sucker-punch. From there, however, the often-maligned Blaze pen was very strong.
Daniel Wolford entered with two outs in the 3rd and got the final out before throwing another two shutout frames, and Blaine Howell struck out five batters over three innings of two-run ball, and Mike Griffin pitched a scoreless 9th. Combined, the three relievers allowed just two runs over 6.1 frames, striking out 10. It was, however, barely not enough.
The Mavericks starter, Cameron Hobson (W, 8-3), was not at his best, but did enough, allowing an additional tally to the Blaze in the second inning that briefly tied the game at 5, and two more runs in the 6th. Hobson left charged with 7 runs (4 earned) in just over 5.0 innings, and it was the back end of the Mavs pen that held it together.
Angel Raga allowed two runs over 1.2 innings of relief, and the combination of Stephen Kohlscheen and Carson Smith (S, 15) held the Blaze at bay.
The tough loss drops the Blaze back to just one game over 500 on the season and to just 21-32 in the season's second half. The series does, however, continue with High Desert on Saturday night with Souvenir T-Shirts being distributed to the first 500 fans through the gate! Tickets are nearly gone, so grab yours online at BakersfieldBlaze.com or call 716-4487 to get yours now.
Can't make it to see the great matchup between Stalin Gerson, the newest Blaze, and Brett Shankin of the Mavs? Listen online at BakersfieldBlaze.com or locally on radio at SmartTalk AM-1230 to the Saturday Night Game of the Week. Dan Besbris will have the call, with first pitch scheduled for 7:20pm, and pregame show ten minutes prior.