VISALIA, Calif. - The Stockton Ports played their fourth extra-inning contest in the last 10 games on Tuesday night at Recreation Ballpark. For the second time in that span, Stockton came up on the losing end. The Visalia Rawhide scored the game-winning run on a two-out single by Tom Belza in the bottom of the 11th to send the Ports to a 6-5 loss to open the series.
Both starting pitchers were in command early as Rawhide starter Andrew Barbosa did not allow a hit through four innings and Ports starter Tanner Peters scattered four singles in that span.
Visalia broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the fifth and an error opened the door. Antonio Lamas booted a ground ball off the bat of Raul Navarro to open the inning. After a sac-bunt advanced Navarro to second, Evan Marzilli doubled to left-center to give the Rawhide a 1-0 lead. After Peters struck out Kevin Medrano, Gerson Montilla reached on an infield single to put two aboard. Belza followed and hit a pop fly to right that Dusty Robinson lost in the lights. The ball fell in for a two-run triple that made it a 3-0 lead. Jon Griffin and David Peralta followed with back-to-back RBI doubles to increase the Rawhide lead to 5-0.
Peters went 5.2 innings and allowed five runs, none of which were earned, on nine hits while striking out six.
Barbosa went six shutout innings for the Rawhide and allowed just one hit while striking out 10 and walking three.
Diogenes Rosario took over in the sixth and after retiring the first two batters, gave up a double to Dixon and an RBI single to Wade Kirkland that cut the Ports deficit to 5-1.
Seth Simmons took over for Rosario in the eighth and, with two on and two out, gave up a three-run homer to Dusty Robinson to bring the Ports to within a run at 5-4. Simmons was lifted for Patrick Schuster, who recorded the final out of the inning.
After Seth Frankoff pitched 2.1 scoreless innings and escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the seventh, the Ports entered the ninth trailing by a run. R.J. Hively came in to try for the save and gave up back-to-back one out singles to Kirkland and Myrio Richard that put runners at the corners with one out. Lamas came to the plate and delivered a sac-fly to center that tied the game at 5-5 as Hively suffered his second blown save of the season.
Stockton had a scoring chance in the 10th against Hively, but failed to convert. With a runner at second and two out, Dixon reached on an infield single to shortstop. Robison, the base runner, had a wide turn around third and would be caught in a rundown to end the inning.
Ryan Dull (1-3) came on to start the ninth inning and retired seven of the first eight batters he faced, taking him one out deep into the 11th inning. With one down, Marzilli doubled to right and Kevin Medrano was intentionally walked. After Montilla flew out to center for the second out, Belza came up and delivered an RBI single to left that scored Marzilli with the game winning run.
Dull suffered the loss for Stockton and Kaleb Fleck (2-1), who pitched a perfect 11th, received the win for Visalia.
The Ports and Rawhide play the second game of their three-game series on Wednesday at Recreation Ballpark. Raul Alcantara (3-1, 2.35 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Visalia left-hander Keith Hessler (6-6, 6.27 ERA). First pitch is set for 7 p.m. PDT.