ADELANTO, Calif. - The Stockton Ports pitching staff walked a season-high 13 batters on Friday night when they took on the High Desert Mavericks. Five of the 13 batters who received free passes came around to score as the Mavericks sent the Ports to their fourth straight loss, beating Stockton 9-6 to open the three-game series.
Ports starter Blake Hassebrock (1-2) walked the first three batters he faced to open the first inning. Dan Paolini came up with the bases loaded and hit a fly ball to shallow right that dropped in front of Myrio Richard, but Richard was able to throw to second to get the force out on which a run scored. After Hassebrock walked Kevin Rivers to reload the bases, Stephen Baron came up and hit another shallow fly to right which Richard fielded on a bounce and threw to second for another fielder's choice force as High Desert grabbed a 2-0 lead.
Stockton tied the contest in the second on a two-run homer by B.A. Vollmuth off Mavericks starter Jordan Pries (2-0). It was the second home run in as many at-bats for Vollmuth who homered in his last at-bat of the night on Thursday at Visalia.
High Desert retook the lead in the fourth. After two walks and an error loaded the bases, Hassebrock threw a wild pitch that allowed Anthony Phillips to score from third to make it 3-2. Two batters later, Paolini hit a sac-fly to center and Rivers followed with an RBI single to center to make it a 5-2 advantage and knock Hassebrock from the game.
Hassebrock took the loss, going 3.2 innings and allowing five runs (two earned) on four hits while striking out four and walking a career-high eight.
The Mavericks added to their lead in the fifth facing Ports reliever T.J. Walz. Mike McGee led off with a walk and scored on an ensuing triple by Dillon Hazlett. Phillips followed with a two-run homer to left that made it an 8-2 Mavericks lead.
Walz went 2.1 innings and allowed three runs on three hits while walking one.
The Ports tried to come back, beginning in the sixth inning. Antonio Lamas led off with a home run and Josh Whitaker singled two batters later to chase Pries from the game. Dominic Leone came on and gave up a two-out, two-run homer to Ryan Ortiz that made it an 8-5 game.
Pries would end up the winning pitcher, going 5.1 innings and allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out seven.
The Ports pulled within a run in the eighth when Whitaker hit an opposite-field home run on an 0-2 pitch to cut the deficit to 8-6. Whitaker went 3-for-4 on the night, coming a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
The Mavericks got the run back in the bottom of the eighth as they loaded the bases with one out facing Omar Duran. Jose Macias was brought in from the Stockton bullpen and Macias surrendered a sac-fly to McGee that made it a 9-6 game. The run was charged to Duran, who went an inning-and-a-third and gave up two hits while walking four.
Stephen Shackleford (SV, 3) recorded the final out of the eighth and set the side down in order to record his third save of the season.