VISALIA, Calif. - Despite outhitting the Visalia Rawhide on Friday night, the Stockton Ports couldn't escape their defensive woes. The Ports committed three errors, the last of which came in the bottom of the ninth and led to the winning run crossing the plate for the Rawhide as the Ports suffered their first loss of the season by a final of 4-3.
Visalia claimed the early lead as Evan Marzilli walked to open the bottom of the first and eventually scored on a double-play groundout. The Ports knotted the contest in the top of the third as Billy McKinney hit his first home run of the season, a solo blast down the right field line to tie the game at 1-1.
The Rawhide snatched the lead back in the bottom of the third as Brandon Drury hit a one-out homer to left to make it a 2-1 game. It was the final run allowed by Ports starter Tim Atherton, who received a no-decision after going four innings and allowing two runs on four this while walking three and striking out three.
Rawhide starter Brandon Sinnery started the fifth inning and saw his first pitch of the frame hit over the right field fence by McKinney, his second home run of the night, to tie the game at 2-2. Two batters later, Matt Olson drew a walk and eventually scored on a two-out RBI single by Bruce Maxwell to put Stockton in front 3-2.
Maxwell's single knocked Sinnery from the game and he went on to receive a no-decision, going 4.2 innings and allowing three runs on eight hits while striking out six.
Jeremy Barfield made his season debut for Stockton in the fifth and pitched around a leadoff walk to keep the Ports in front. In the sixth, however, Ryan Court tripled to right with one out and scored on a two-out single to left by Raul Navarro that tied the game at 3-3. It was the only run allowed by Barfield who pitched two innings and allowed two hits while striking out three.
After a perfect seventh inning thrown by Tucker Healy, Michael Ynoa (0-1) took over in the eighth and set the side down in order. Ynoa returned for the ninth inning and with one out, gave up a single to right to Navarro. After a pair of wild pitches advanced Navarro to third and brought the infield in, Rawhide batter Socrates Brito hit a sharp grounder to the shallow-playing Ports second baseman Chad Pinder. Pinder bobbled the ball and had no play at the plate as the winning run crossed to give Visalia a 4-3 victory. The play-Stockton's third error of the night-was ruled an error on Pinder and an unearned run for Ynoa.
Jimmie Sherfy (1-0), who pitched a perfect ninth inning, picked up the win for the Rawhide.
Stockton and Visalia will play the third game of their four-game set on Saturday at Recreation Ballpark. Manny Correa (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will make the start for the Ports, opposed by Rawhide left-hander Spencer Arroyo (0-0, 0.00 ERA). First pitch is set for 7 p.m. PDT.