MODESTO, Calif. - Sunday's contest got off to a great start for the Stockton Ports as they scored six runs over the first three innings. The Modesto Nuts, however, surged back with nine runs over four straight innings as Modesto took the rubber match of the three-game series with Stockton 9-7 at John Thurman Field.
Stockton scored a pair of runs in the first with two outs on an RBI double by B.A. Vollmuth and an ensuing RBI single by Tony Thompson off Nuts starter Tyler Gagnon (10-9). The Ports would increase their lead in the second. With two on and two out, Addison Russell hit his 12th home run of the season and his third in the last six games, a three-run blast to left that stretched the Stockton lead to 5-0.
Modesto began a stretch of scoring over four straight innings in the second. With one on and two out, Harold Riggins hit a two-run homer to left-center that cut the Ports lead to 5-2.
The Ports got a run back in the top of the third on a one-out homer hit by Thompson to make it a 6-2 game. Modesto, however plated a run in the bottom half of the inning on a two-out RBI single by Taylor Featherston, scoring David Kandilas who'd doubled earlier in the inning to make it a 6-3.
Ports starter Raul Alcantara (4-3) gave up an infield single to open the fourth, followed by a bloop RBI double to Riggins that made it 6-4. Niko Gallego followed with a bunt up the third base line that Vollmuth fielded and threw on to first. Thompson, however, missed the catch at first, an error that allowed Riggins to score and make it 6-5. After Alcantara recorded back-to-back outs, Ryan Casteel hit an RBI double to left to tie the game at 6-6 and Jared Simon followed with a ground rule RBI double to right that put Modesto in front for the first time 7-6. Simon's double also knocked Alcantara from the game as T.J. Walz was summoned. Walz came up an RBI double to Featherston to begin his outing, stretching the Nuts lead to 8-6.
Alcatara suffered the loss, going 3.2 innings and allowing eight runs (four earned) on nine hits while striking out two.
Modesto added a run in the sixth off Walz as Kandilas hit a sac-fly to left with runners at the corners and one out, making it a 9-6 Modesto lead. It was the only run allowed by Walz in an inning-and-a-third of relief.
After a rough start to his outing, Gagnon settled down for Modesto and at one point retired 10 batters in a row. Gagnon went on to set down 14 of the final 16 batters he faced and would pick up the win, going seven full innings and allowing six runs on nine hits while striking out six.
After Ryan Arrowood pitched a perfect eighth inning, Scott Oberg (SV, 24) came on for the ninth in a save situation. Oberg surrendered a leadoff home run to Wade Kirkland that brought the Ports to within two runs at 9-7. After back-to-back outs were recorded, Russell came up and hit a bouncing ball to third. Gallego fielded cleanly but threw low to first and Riggins was unable to pick it, allowing Russell to reach on a throwing error. Bobby Crocker came up next and hit a bouncing ball to first that was booted by Riggins, deflected to the second baseman Featherston, and Featherston made an errant throw to first as the ball went out of play. Two errors were assessed on the play that allowed the possible-tying runs to get into scoring position. With runners at second and third and two outs, Vollmuth came up and hit a comebacker to the mound that was fielded cleanly by Oberg as he threw on to first to record the final out of the ballgame.
After going 4-2 on their six-game road trip, the Ports return home following a day off on Monday to begin a six-game homestand on Tuesday, beginning with three games versus the Bakersfield Blaze. Josh Bowman (4-4, 6.56 ERA) makes the start in the series opener for the Ports, opposed by Blaze right-hander Jake Johnson (5-4, 5.63 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PDT.