VISALIA, Calif. - The Stockton Ports most recent six-game road trip featured many near-comebacks and missed opportunities. Thursday's finale with the Visalia Rawhide encapsulated both. Stockton scored a run in the ninth and left the tying-run in scoring pTiosition as the Rawhide completed a sweep of the three-game series by a final of 6-5. Stockton finishes its six-game road trip with a 1-5 record and are now below the .500 mark for the first time since mid-May.
Visalia opened the scoring with three runs in the second inning off Ports starter Josh Bowman (3-4). With a runner at first and two outs, Sean Jamieson kept the inning alive with a bunt single to the left side. Steven Rodriguez followed with a two-run double to left to give the Rawhide a 2-0 lead. After Evan Marzilli reached on an infield single, Kevin Medrano blooped a single to left that scored Rodriguez and made it 3-0.
The Ports got on the board in the third facing Rawhide starter Eddie McKiernan (4-2). With one on and two out, Bobby Crocker drove in the first Stockton run with an RBI double to left-center. In the fourth, with two on and two out, Rashun Dixon singled up the middle to score Josh Whitaker and cut the deficit to 3-2.
The Rawhide struck for three more runs in the fifth. Bowman started the inning by hitting Medrano in the foot with a pitch. Gerson Montilla doubled to right-center to score Medrano and make it 4-2. After Tom Belza singled, Jon Griffin singled to left to drive in Montilla, chase Bowman from the game, and increase the Rawhide lead to 5-2. Visalia added a run when reliever Jonathan Joseph threw a wild pitch to allow Belza to score.
Bowman suffered the loss, going four-plus innings and allowing six runs on eight hits while striking out two.
Joseph pitched two scoreless innings for the Ports while T.J. Walz and Tucker Healy chipped in with a scoreless inning apiece.
Stockton scored two more runs off McKiernan in the seventh. With two on and one out, Antonio Lamas doubled to right-center to score both base runners and cut the Rawhide lead to 6-4. Lamas would be thrown out in a rundown between second and third after both runs had scored.
McKiernan received the win, going seven innings and allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits while striking out six.
After Diogenes Rosario pitched a scoreless eighth, R.J. Hively (SV, 6), who blew the save on Tuesday night, took over in the ninth. With one out, Hively gave up a single to Wade Kirkland, who advanced to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Crocker hit his third double of the game out to right-center to score Kirkland to make it 6-5 and put the possible-tying run in scoring position. After Lamas drew a four-pitch walk, Whitaker came up and struck out swinging to end the ballgame.
Crocker went 3-for-5 with three doubles and two RBI, becoming the second player in as many nights and the third player on the season to hit three doubles in a game. The Ports suffered their fourth series sweep of the season, and their second in Visalia.
The Ports look to end their five-game losing streak as they return home on Friday to begin a three-game series with the San Jose Giants. Michael Ynoa (0-2, 14.90 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by right-hander Ryan Vogelsong (0-0, 0.00 ERA), who makes the start for San Jose on a Major League rehab assignment. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PDT.