BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - For a second straight game, the Bakersfield Blaze found a way to prevail in the late innings over the Stockton Ports. On Wednesday afternoon, the Blaze broke a 6-6 tie with back-to-back home runs from Chris Berset and Juan Perez en route to handing the Ports an 8-6 loss at Sam Lynn Ballpark. Stockton finishes its road trip with a 3-4 mark as they head home to play their 2014 home opener.
Stockton loaded the bases with one out in the first inning, but Ryon Healy hit into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double-play to end the threat. Bakersfield then seized the momentum in the bottom of the first. With two on and one out, Seth Mejias-Brean lined a two-run single to left to score Ryan Wright and Junior Arias and give the Blaze a 2-0 lead.
The Ports got a run back in the second as Chad Pinder tripled with one out and scored on a wild pitch uncorked by Blaze starter Drew Cisco to cut the deficit to 2-1.
The Blaze would go on to score the next four runs. With runners at the corners and one out in the third, John Tolisano hit a sac-fly to center to make it 3-1. In the fourth, the Blaze took advantage of a throwing error committed by the second baseman Pinder to plate a pair of runs on a two-run double by Jesse Winker to extend the lead to 5-1. Tolisano hit a solo homer off Ports starter Tim Atherton in the fifth to make it a 6-1 ballgame.
Atherton would receive a no-decision, going five innings and allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits while walking three and striking out two.
Cisco pitched five innings for the Blaze and allowed just the one run on five hits while striking out three.
Trailing by five runs, the Ports stormed back against the Blaze bullpen in the sixth. Tim Adleman started the inning and was greeted with a solo home run off the bat of Renato Nunez. After Healy walked and Bruce Maxwell singled, Pinder hit into a 6-3 double-play that plated a run but cleared the bases with two outs. Aaron Shipman followed with a single and stole second and Wade Kirkland drove him in with an RBI double to center. Adleman was then lifted for Sean Lucas, who walked Billy McKinney to open his outing. Bobby Crocker came up next and reached on an error committed by first baseman Kyle Waldrop that allowed the tying run to score and knot the game at 6-6.
Adleman went two-thirds of an inning and allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits. Lucas went on to pitch an inning-and-a-third and gave up an unearned run.
After tossing two scoreless innings, Ryan Doolittle (0-1) came out to start the bottom of the eighth and gave up a leadoff home run to Berset to make it 7-6. Austin House was then summoned from the Stockton bullpen and gave up a homer to Perez that extended the Blaze lead to 8-6.
Brooks Pinckard (2-0), who pitched a scoreless eighth inning, picked up his second victory in as many games for the Blaze. Carlos Gonzalez (SV, 1) tossed a perfect ninth to earn his first save of the season.
The Ports return home on Thursday to begin the home portion of their 2014 schedule as they welcome the Visalia Rawhide to Banner Island Ballpark for a four-game series. Manny Correa (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his second start of the season for Stockton, opposed by Visalia left-hander Spencer Arroyo (0-1, 4.50 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PDT.