STOCKTON, Calif. - The Bakersfield Blaze came out swinging on Tuesday night at Banner Island Ballpark. The Blaze plated four runs in the top of the first and 10 total on the night as they beat the Stockton Ports by a final of 10-4 to set up a rubber match of the three-game series on Wednesday night.
Bakersfield opened the game with three straight hits off Ports starter Manny Correa (1-1). Juan Silva and Ryan Wright hit back-to-back singles and Jesse Winker hit a two-run double to right to give the Blaze a 2-0 lead. Two batters later, Kyle Waldrop lined an RBI double to right to score Winker and with two outs, John Tolisano hit an RBI single to center to make it a 4-0 advantage for the Blaze.
The Ports cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the first. With two on and two out, Chad Pinder singled to left and the ball was misplayed by Winker the left fielder as it rolled all the way to the wall, allowing Daniel Robertson to score all the way from first and make it a 4-2 game.
The Blaze re-upped their lead in the top of the third. Winker doubled to open the inning and scored on an ensuing triple hit by Seth Mejias-Brean, who came home to score when the relay throw got away from catcher Bruce Maxwell to make it a 6-2 contest.
Stockton got a run back in the bottom of the third on a leadoff home run hit by Renato Nunez that cut the Ports deficit to 6-3. It was the final run allowed by Blaze starter Mike Dennhardt, who received a no-decision after going four innings and allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits while walking six.
Bakersfield added two runs in the fourth on a pair of solo homers hit by Chris Berset and Wright to make it an 8-3 score. In the fifth, the Blaze loaded the bases on two singles and a walk to start the inning, at which point Correa was lifted for Jeremy Barfield. Barfield, after getting the first out, would walk Berset with the bases loaded to bring in another run and make it a 9-3 contest.
Correa suffered his first loss of the season, going four-plus innings and allowing nine runs (eight earned) on 11 hits while walking one and striking out one.
Barfield went on to toss three scoreless innings for Stockton while allowing just one hit and striking out five.
Stockton's final run came in the fifth off Blaze reliever Brooks Pinckard (3-0). With a runner at second following an error, Dusty Robinson hit an RBI double to right to make it a 9-4 game. The run was unearned and it was the only run allowed by Pinckard, who picked up the win after going three innings and allowing one hit while striking out two.
The Blaze added a run in the ninth as Mejias-Brean homered off Ports reliever Ryan Doolittle to extend the Bakersfield lead to 10-4. It was the only run allowed by Doolittle in two innings of relief.
The Ports and Blaze play the rubber game of their three-game series on Wednesday night at Banner Island Ballpark. Shawn Haviland (1-1, 3.38 ERA) will make the start for Stockton, opposed by Bakersfield right-hander Ben Lively (2-0, 0.82 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PDT.