VISALIA, Calif. - The Stockton Ports plated nine runs over the first four innings on Monday night at Recreation Ballpark to take a 9-0 lead. Stockton nearly saw the lead completely erode as the Visalia Rawhide scored seven runs over the final five innings, but the Ports hung on for the narrow victory to take the opener of the three-game series by a count of 9-7.
Stockton jumped on Visalia starter Conrad Flynn (5-4) early. With one out in the first, Addison Russell and Max Muncy hit back-to-back doubles with Muncy's scoring Russell to give the Ports a 1-0 lead. With two outs, Myrio Richard singled up the middle to make it a 2-0 advantage.
The Ports hit three two-run homers over the next three innings. Bobby Crocker hit one in the second to make it 4-0, Dusty Robinson went yard as part of a three-run third to make it 7-0 and B.A. Vollmuth homered to left in the fourth to run the Stockton lead to 9-0.
Flynn suffered the loss after going 3.1 innings and allowing nine runs on 10 hits while striking out three.
Diogenes Rosario took over for Flynn in the fourth and retired the first seven batters he faced, going on to set down 12 of 13 batters over 4.2 scoreless innings of work to take Visalia through the eighth.
Visalia's offense, which had been dormant through the first four innings, came to life in the fifth with Ports starter Shaeffer hall (2-3) on the mound. Visalia loaded the bases on three straight singles and scored its first run on a double-play hit into by Adam Eaton. The Rawhide added another run on a wild pitch, cutting their deficit to 9-2.
Hall retired the first batter in the sixth and then allowed three straight singles, including an RBI single to Raul Navarro that made it 9-3, at which point Hall was lifted for Jake Brown. Brown gave up an RBI single to Ronnie Freeman, but got Kerry Jenkins and Eaton to fly out to end the inning.
Brown pitched into the seventh and allowed a one-out solo homer to David Nick that cut the Ports lead to 9-5. After issuing a walk and giving up a single, Brown was removed for Pedro Vidal, who got Sean Jamieson and Navarro to fly out to end the inning.
Vidal pitched the eighth inning and retired the first two batters. Eaton extended the inning with a single to right-center and scored on an ensuing triple hit by Gerson Montilla that made it a 9-6 game.
Tucker Healy (SV, 1) came on to pitch the ninth in his first save situation of the season. With one out, Healy walked Tom Belza and gave up a double to Jamieson to put runners at second and third. After Navarro hit a sac-fly to right to make it 9-7, Ronnie Freeman grounded out to second to end the ballgame, earning Healy his first save of the season.
Anthony Meo pitched a scoreless ninth for Visalia despite issuing three walks. Crocker, who drew one of those walks, was removed from the game after suffering an injury while diving back to the second base bag on a pick-off attempt.
The Ports and Rawhide play the middle game of their three-game set on Tuesday night at Recreation Ballpark. Tanner Peters (7-4, 4.06 ERA) will make the start for Stockton, opposed by Visalia left-hander Cody Wheeler (3-4, 5.85 ERA). First pitch is set for 7 p.m. PDT.