VISALIA, Calif. - For the second time this season, Tony Thompson had a career night for the Stockton Ports. In the first of a three-game series at Recreation Ballpark, Thompson hit a pair of home runs, including a grand slam, and went 4-for-5 with nine RBI as the Ports beat the Visalia Rawhide 14-6 for their fourth straight victory.
The Ports and Rawhide traded early home runs as Visalia took a 2-0 lead on a two-out, two-run homer by Sean Jamieson in the second off Ports starter Josh Bowman (5-6).
Stockton grabbed its first lead in the top of the third. Phil Pohl hit the first pitch of the inning out to left field for his second home run of the road trip, cutting the Rawhide lea to 2-1. Two batters later, Addison Russell singled, Bobby Crocker drew a walk and Thompson hit a three-run homer to left to put the Ports in front 4-2.
Visalia tied the game in the ensuing half-inning With one out, Kevin Medrano reached on an infield single and Gerson Montilla hit a two-run homer to left to knot the game at 4-4.
Rawhide starter Keith Hessler went five innings and allowed four runs on five hits while striking out eight and walking a season-high five as he received a no-decision.
Tied at 4-4, Stockton saw a deluge of runs in the sixth. With Anthony Meo (1-1) on in relief for the Rawhide, the Ports loaded the bases with one out on three walks. With the bases full, Crocker broke the tie with a two-run double to right, knocking Meo from the game. Seth Simmons came on in relief and gave up a two-run single to Thompson that increased the Ports lead to 8-4. After a single by B.A. Vollmuth put two aboard, Rashun Dixon doubled to left to put the Stockton lead at 10-4.
Meo suffered the loss, allowing four runs in a third of an inning. Simmons allowed two runs on three hits over two-thirds of an inning.
Bowman finished his night after six innings and picked up the win, allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out three.
Stockton's bats stayed hot in the seventh. With Diogenes Rosario on in relief to start the inning, Pohl greeted him with a single and Myrio Richard and Russell drew back-to-back walks. Thompson came up with the bases loaded and worked the count full, eventually hitting a grand slam out to left-center field to make it a 14-4 game.
Trey Barham came on in relief to start the seventh and issued a leadoff walk to Evan Marzilli, who eventually scored on a two-out double by Jake Lamb. Visalia added another run in the eighth that was unearned for Barham as it scored as part of a play on which two errors were committed. David Mota pitched the final inning-and-a-third scoreless for Stockton.
For Thompson, it was the second time this season he had a career RBI night as he drove in seven runs in the fifth inning (a three-run homer and a grand slam) in a game versus Lake Elsinore on May 20th at Banner Island Ballpark.
Stockton drew a season-high 11 walks in the game, besting their total of 10 walks drawn in the game at High Desert on April 27th. It also marked Stockton's longest nine-inning game of the season at 3:43.
The Ports and Rawhide will play the second game of their three-game set on Saturday night at Recreation Ballpark. Tanner Peters (11-5, 3.84 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Visalia left-hander Eddie McKiernan (6-3, 3.84 ERA). First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. PDT.