STOCKTON, Calif. - Bakersfield Blaze starter Ben Lively (3-0) dominated the Stockton Ports on Wednesday night at Banner Island Ballpark. Lively retired 18 of the 20 batters that he faced and tossed six shutout innings as the Blaze sent the Ports to an 8-3 loss and took the rubber match of the three-game series.
The Blaze got on the board in the first inning as Jesse Winker hit a solo homer to right off Ports starter Shawn Haviland (1-2) to put Bakersfield in front 1-0. Haviland would go on to retire the next eight batters he faced before allowing a single to Winker in the fourth.
Lively, meanwhile, gave up a one-out double to Matt Olson in the second, but proceeded to retire the next 12 batters in a row. Lively was masterful on the night, going six shutout innings and allowing just two hits while striking out 10 in a winning effort.
Bakersfield extended its lead by a run in the sixth. After Haviland loaded the bases on back-to-back walks with one out, he hit Marquez Smith to bring in the second Blaze run of the night. It was the last run the Blaze scored off Haviland who went on to suffer the loss, going six innings and allowing two runs on four hits while walking three and striking out five.
Austin House came on to pitch the seventh inning and allowed a pair of runs on an RBI groundout by Winker and an infield RBI single by Seth Mejias-Brean that gave the Blaze a 4-0 cushion. House started the eighth inning by allowing two singles and a walk that loaded the bases with nobody out. Juan Silva came up and doubled to right field to score two more runs and knock House from the contest. Jonathan Joseph came on in relief and gave up a two-run single to Ryan Wright that extended the Blaze lead to 8-0.
House pitched an inning-plus and allowed six runs on five hits while walking three and striking out one. Joseph went on to pitch two scoreless innings to finish the ballgame.
The Ports pushed across their first runs in the eighth facing Blaze reliever Jacob Johnson. With the bases loaded and one out, Bobby Crocker hit a two-run single to left to make it an 8-2 game. The hit also extended Crocker's hit streak to 11 games.
Stockton added a solo homer from Matt Olson in the ninth inning which came off Blaze reliever Kyle McMyne to make it an 8-3 contest.
After going 3-4 on their opening homestand, the Ports travel to San Bernardino to begin a three-game series with the Inland Empire 66ers on Thursday. Seth Streich (1-1, 3.60 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Inland Empire southpaw Tyler DeLoach (1-0, 1.80 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PDT.