For the second consecutive night, the Stockton Ports busted out the power bats, tonight using a late-inning comeback to knock off the Bakersfield Blaze, 4-2, at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton.
The end result was largely the same, but the script was very different from the previous night's affair.
Carlos Contreras got the start for Bakersfield, and the hard-throwing righthander was solid in his first start of the 2013 season - Contreras went 4.0 innings with a limited pitch count, striking out 5 while allowing just one run on a solo homer to Ryan Delgado in the 2nd inning.
Contreras left with the lead thanks to a Blaze rally in the 3rd. Ports starter Blake Hassebrock did a fine job of pounding the strike zone throughout the night, but a rare miss cost the righty, as Hassebrock plunked Blaze designated hitter Sean Buckley to begin the 3rd inning. Later that same frame, Chris Berset smacked an RBI double to left-center, and Kyle Waldrop drove in Berset with a base hit to right, and the Blaze took their first lead of the season, 2-1.
Carlos Gonzalez followed Contreras for the Blaze, pitching 2.0 scoreless innings of relief, and carrying the Blaze 2-1 lead into the late innings. From there, however, the Ports muscled up.
In the 7th, Stockton got even against Brooks Pinckard (BS, L, 0-1), using two hits and two hit-batsmen to push across the tying run. Then, just one inning later, Stockton went ahead for good. Pinckard began the 8th by retiring B.A. Vollmuth, but followed with a free pass to Dusty Robinson. Pinckard was then lifted for Kyle McMyne, who was greeted rudely when Tony Thompson slugged the second pitch of the at-bat over the leftfield wall for a two-run homer and a 4-2 Ports advantage.
Meanwhile, the Stockton pen continued their dominance. After 4.0 scoreless innings last night, the bullpen for Stockton one-upped itself with 4.1 scoreless frames tonight, culminating in Jonathan Joseph's first save (S, 1) of the 2013 season. The win goes to T.J. Walz (W, 1-0), who pitched 1.2 innings of relief and was the pitcher of record when Thompson went deep in the 8th.
The Blaze will try to bounce back on Saturday night and collect the team's first win of the season when Jonathan Moscot takes the hill at 7:10pm. The Ports will counter with towering righty Sean Murphy. Make sure to listen to Dan Besbris call all the action of Saturday's Game of the Week LIVE on SmartTalk 1230-AM in Bakersfield, or across the globe online at BakersfieldBlaze.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.