SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - With six defensive outs left to get, the Stockton Ports saw one slip away on Thursday night at San Manuel Stadium. Trailing 3-0 going into the eighth inning, the Inland Empire 66ers scored two runs in the eighth, the tying run in the ninth and the winning run in the 10th as the Ports fell in extra innings by a final of 4-3.
Stockton took advantage of a pair of 66ers miscues early in the ballgame. With one on and one out in the first, Bruce Maxwell hit a fly ball to left that was dropped by 66ers left fielder Chevy Clarke. After Renato Nunez walked to load the bases, Chad Pinder hit an RBI single to center that put Stockton in front 1-0. 66ers starter Tyler DeLoach went on to strike out Matt Olson and got Dusty Robinson to ground out to avoid further trouble in the frame.
With one on and one out in the second, Billy McKinney hit a fly ball to left that again was dropped by Clarke and got behind him, allowing Aaron Shipman to score from first and make it a 2-0 ballgame. The Ports would add a run with two outs in the inning on an RBI single by Nunez to make it a 3-0 advantage.
DeLoach went on to receive a no-decision, going three innings and allowing three unearned runs on five hits while striking out two.
Stockton's offense, after McKinney singled in the third, would be held hitless the final seven innings of the ballgame. Inland Empire's bullpen, a combination of Jake Boyd, Eduard Santos and Kurt Spomer (1-0) went on to retire 20 of the final 22 Ports batters.
Ports starter Seth Streich turned in his best outing of the season. Streich pitched six shutout innings and allowed just three hits while striking out a season-high nine batters as he received a no-decision.
Hunter Adkins, who was added to the Stockton roster on Thursday from Extended Spring Training, took over in the seventh and pitched a scoreless frame. Adkins came back out to pitch the eighth and walked Brennan Gowens to open the frame and then gave up a two-run homer to Sherman Johnson that cut the Ports lead to 3-2. After Adkins recorded back-to-back strikeouts, Nolan Sanburn (0-1) was summoned to finish the eighth. Sanburn allowed a single to Wade Hinkle and then had to pitch around a dropped pop fly by Pinder that put runners at the corners, but preserved the 3-2 Stockton lead heading to the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth, Rolando Gomez led off with a double to right, advanced to second on a Clarke groundout and scored on a passed ball charged to the catcher Maxwell that tied the game at 3-3, giving Sanburn his first blown save of the season.
In the bottom of the 10th, Jose Rondon singled to center with one out. Two batters later with two outs, Hinkle came up and hit an RBI double to the right field corner that scored Rondon with the winning run, giving the 66ers a come-from-behind victory on their home field. Sanburn suffered his first loss of the season while Spomer, who pitched two scoreless innings for Inland Empire, picked up his first win.
The Ports and 66ers play the second game of their three-game set on Friday night at San Manuel Stadium. Josh Bowman (0-1, 6.43 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Inland Empire left-hander Nate Smith (1-2, 6.75 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PDT.