ADELANTO, Calif. - The Stockton Ports led the entire way on Thursday night versus the High Desert Mavericks, and in fact never trailed in the series. The Boys of Banner Island continued their winning ways on Thursday, nearly blowing a five-run lead, but holding on for an 8-7 victory to earn their fourth series sweep of the season and their fourth straight victory overall.
Stockton's offense came out hot in the top of the first inning. With one on and two outs, B.A. Vollmuth put the Ports on the board with an RBI double to left. Tony Thompson followed with an RBI single to left to make it 2-0. After Bruce Maxwell extended the inning with a single, Antonio Lamas singled to left to score Thompson and make it a 3-0 Ports lead.
High Desert fired back with two runs in the bottom half of the first. Ports starter Michael Ynoa walked Jamal Austin to open the frame and then retired the next two batters. With one on and two out, Pat Kivlehan hit an RBI single to center that scored Austin and made it 3-1. Steven Proscia came up next and singled to right to drive in Kivlehan after Kivlehan had stolen second, putting the Mavericks within a run at 3-2.
The Ports re-upped their lead in the second when Myrio Richard hit a two-run homer to left off Mavericks starter Stephen Landazuri (4-5) to make it a 5-2 game.
Landazuri suffered the loss after going three innings and allowing five runs on eight hits while striking out seven.
Ynoa induced inning-ending double-plays in both the second and third innings, but would be removed from the game prior to the start of the bottom of the fourth inning with shoulder tightness. Shaeffer Hall (3-3) took over for Ynoa to begin the bottom of the fourth inning.
The Ports offense stretched their lead in the fifth inning. Josh Whitaker led off with a home run off Mavericks reliever Bobby Shore. With two outs and the bases empty, Maxwell singled and Lamas doubled to left to drive him in, giving Stockton a 7-2 advantage. Shore went three innings and allowed two runs on three hits while striking out one.
Hall, after pitching a scoreless fourth and fifth, would give up four runs in the bottom of the sixth. Kevin Rivers led off with a double and was driven in by a Kivlehan single to make it 7-3. After Proscia doubled to put runners at second and third, Jabari Henry hit a sac-fly to center to score Kivlehan and cut the Ports lead to 7-4. After Hall got Dillon Hazlett to fly to center for the second out, David Villasuso doubled to left-center to score Proscia. Two batters later, Austin singled to score Villasuso and cut the Ports lead to one run at 7-6. Hall, at that point, was lifted for T.J. Walz, who struck out Rivers with the bases loaded to end the inning and preserve the lead.
Hall, despite the rough sixth inning, received the win after going 2.2 innings and allowing four runs on seven hits. Walz, after escaping the jam in the sixth, pitched a scoreless seventh.
Grady Wood came on in relief for High Desert to pitch the eighth and walked Rashun Dixon to open the frame. Dixon scored two batters later on an RBI double by Bobby Crocker to increase the Ports lead to 8-6.
David Mota came on to pitch the eighth for Stockton and, with one on and two out, gave up an RBI double to Rivers that once again made it a one-run game at 8-7. It was the only run allowed by Mota in his lone inning of work as the right-hander also recorded two strikeouts.
Seth Frankoff (SV, 3) came on to pitch the ninth in a one-run ballgame and set the side down in order, recording a strikeout of Hazlett to end the ballgame and earn his third save of the season.
After sweeping High Desert, the Ports continue their road trip with a three-game series at the Modesto Nuts beginning on Friday night. James Simmons (7-5, 4.74 ERA) makes the start in the series opener for Stockton, opposed by Nuts right-hander Jonathan Gray (0-0, 0.00 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PDT.