STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Ports didn't lead the Bakersfield Blaze until there were two outs in the eighth inning on Friday night at Banner Island Ballpark. Matt Olson broke a 7-7 tie in the eighth with his league-leading 10th home run of the season as the Boys of Banner Island rallied past the Blaze and took the first game of a four-game set by a final of 9-7.
Bakersfield broke the ice in the first on a solo homer by Jesse Winker off Ports starter Tim Atherton. The Ports tied it in the second inning on a two-out RBI single from Dusty Robinson, scoring Renato Nunez who'd doubled to open the frame.
The Blaze had a pair of three-run innings in the contest, the first being the third. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Seth Mejias-Brean hit a grounder to shortstop. Daniel Robertson flipped to Chad Pinder for a force-out at second base, but Pinder dropped the ball. No out was recorded and two runs scored on the play, giving the Blaze a 3-1 lead. Bakersfield added a third run on a two-out RBI single by Marquez Smith to make it a 4-1 game.
Bakersfield widened its lead in the fifth as Atherton walked Winker with one out and then was lifted for Nolan Sanburn. Sanburn went on to walk a batter and then surrender a two-out RBI single to Smith that gave Bakersfield a 5-1 edge.
Atherton went 4.1 innings and allowed five runs (three earned) on four hits while walking three and striking out two while receiving a no-decision.
The Ports also had a pair of three-run innings, the first of those being the fifth. Aaron Shipman led off with a triple to right-center and scored on an ensuing home run hit by Robertson that cut the Ports deficit to 5-3. Three batters later Pinder stepped up and homered to right to make it a 5-4 contest.
Blaze starter Drew Cisco also received a no-decision, going six innings and allowing four runs on nine hits while striking out four.
Sanburn started the sixth inning and walked David Vidal. John Tolisano followed with a two-run homer to right to increase the Bakersfield lead to 7-4. Sanburn pitched 1.2 innings and allowed two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out two.
Lane Somsen came on to pitch the seventh for the Blaze and with one out, gave up a single to Olson, walked Nunez and gave up an RBI double to Pinder that brought the Ports to within two runs at 7-5. Somsen was then lifted for Sean Lucas (0-1), who gave up an RBI single to Bruce Maxwell and then a sac-fly to Robinson that tied the game at 7-7. All three runs in the inning were charged to Somsen who pitch a third of an inning.
Lucas started the eighth for the Blaze and with a runner aboard and two outs, gave up a two-run homer to right to Olson that gave the Ports a 9-7 lead. Lucas suffered the loss, going an inning-and-a-third and allowing two runs on four hits.
Michael Ynoa (2-1), who pitched two scoreless innings for Stockton, picked up the win in the contest. Austin House (SV, 4) came on in the ninth and pitched around a two-out double to record his fourth save of the season.
The Ports and Blaze play the second game of their four-game series on Saturday night at Banner Island Ballpark. Manny Correa (2-3, 5.25 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Blaze right-hander Mike Dennhardt (1-2, 4.67 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PDT.