STOCKTON, Calif. - After dropping the first three games of the second half, the Stockton Ports have recovered to get back to the .500 mark. Stockton earned its third straight victory on Tuesday night, a 6-4 win over the Visalia Rawhide who've dropped six straight to open the half.
Stockton struck early for a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Bobby Crocker opened the inning with a triple and scored on an ensuing RBI single by Addison Russell to give the Ports a 1-0 lead. Russell went on to steal second and score on a Myrio Richard RBI double off Rawhide starter Andrew Barbosa (4-5) to make it 2-0.
Visalia cut its deficit in half with a solo home run from Sean Jamieson in the top of the second off Ports starter James Simmons (5-2) to make it 2-1. Stockton, though, answered with a solo blast of its own when Antonio Lamas led off the bottom of the second with a big fly to get the lead back up to a pair of runs at 3-1.
The Ports widened their lead in the third. Max Muncy led off with a walk and advanced all the way to third when B.A. Vollmuth struck out on a wild pitch in the dirt. Muncy scored on an ensuing groundout by Richard to stretch the lead to 4-1.
Simmons found himself in a jam in the fifth after walking Michael Perez and allowing a double to Kerry Jenkins that put runners at second and third with nobody out. Evan Marzilli grounded out to second to bring in a run and then two batters later with two outs, Gerson Montilla doubled to left to score Jenkins and make it a 4-3 game.
Simons escaped the fifth with the lead still intact and would go on to earn the win, going five innings and allowing three runs on five hits while striking out a season-high seven.
Stockton got the two runs right back in the bottom of the fifth as Barbosa walked Muncy with one out and then gave up a two-run homer to Vollmuth that put the Ports lead at 6-3.
Barbosa suffered the loss, going 4.1 innings and allowing six runs on eight hits while striking out six.
Visalia's bullpen, a combination of Matt Sample, Patrick Schuster and Jake Barrett, combined to retire all 11 batters they faced upon taking over the game in the fifth. The trio combined to strike out eight of those 11 batters, with Schuster and Barrett striking out the last six Ports hitters of the game.
T.J. Walz took over in the sixth inning for Stockton and pitched around an error in his first inning of relief. In the seventh, Walz issued a one-out walk to Jenkins, who went to third on an ensuing double by Marzilli. Jenkins scored on a sac-fly by Kevin Medrano that cut the Ports lead to 6-4. It was the only run allowed by the Stockton bullpen as Walz went two innings and allowed one hit while striking out two.
Pedro Vidal (SV, 2) came on to pitch the eighth and pitched around a one-out single in his first inning of work. In the ninth, Vidal gave up a leadoff single to Perez. After retiring the next two batters, Medrano reached on an error committed by Lamas at second to keep the game alive. Vidal, though, after falling behind 3-0, struck out Montilla to end the game and earn his second save of the season.
The Ports will try for a three-game sweep of the Rawhide when the teams wrap up their three-game set on Wednesday night at Banner Island Ballpark. Left-hander Shaeffer Hall (1-2, 5.04 ERA) will make the start for Stockton, opposed by Visalia right-hander Conrad Flynn (4-3, 5.82 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PDT.