STOCKTON, Calif. - The Bakersfield Blaze brought a good amount of offense to Banner Island Ballpark on Saturday night. Before a crowd of 5,015, the Blaze plated 10 runs on 12 hits en route to handing the Stockton Ports a 10-3 loss to even their four-game series at one game apiece.
Bakersfield plated the first run of the game in the first inning as Kyle Waldrop hit a sac-fly with the bases loaded to score Ryan Wright. Ports starter Manny Correa was then pulled from the game due to injury and Jonathan Joseph (0-3) came on to finish the first. Correa went two-thirds of an inning and allowed one run on one hit while walking two.
Stockton grabbed its only lead of the contest in the second. Bruce Maxwell led off with a single and scored on an RBI triple by Dusty Robinson to tie the game at 1-1. Robinson came in to score on an ensuing groundout by Wade Kirkland to give the Ports a 2-1 advantage.
Following Robinson's RBI triple, Blaze starter Mike Dennhardt (2-2) went on to retire 13 of the final 15 batters he faced en route to picking up the win, going six innings and allowing two runs on five hits while striking out six.
Joseph pitched a scoreless second and third for Stockton. In the top of the fourth, he gave up a one-out double to Seth Mejias-Brean. Two batters later, Yovan Gonzalez was hit by a pitch and Zach Vincej walked to load the bases, at which point Jeremy Barfield came on from the bullpen. Barfield gave up a single to right field to Beau Amaral. Robinson, the Ports right fielder, overran the ball in the outfield, allowing a third run to come in on the hit as the Blaze took a 4-2 lead. All three runs (two earned) were charged to Joseph who suffered the loss after three innings of work in long relief.
Barfield continued to pitch into the fifth and gave up a one-out double to Marquez Smith. Two batters later, Mejias-Brean singled to score Smith and make it 5-2. John Tolisano came up next and reached on a throwing error made by third baseman Renato Nunez that allowed Mejias-Brean to score and extend the Blaze lead to 6-2.
Barfield allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits over an inning-and-a-third.
Jacob Johnson came on to pitch the seventh inning and gave up a leadoff double to Maxwell, who would eventually score on a two-out RBI single by Bobby Crocker to cut the Blaze lead to 6-3.
The Blaze would add four insurance runs in the ninth. Omar Duran, who'd pitched the previous three innings scoreless, opened the inning by walking Amaral and then surrendered a two-run homer to Wright that extended the Blaze lead to 8-3. After Duran recorded a strikeout, he was lifted for Austin House. House gave up back-to-back singles to Smith and Waldrop to start his outing. Two batters later he walked Tolisano and then gave up a two-run single to Yovan Gonzalez that took the Blaze lead to 10-3.
Carlos Gonzalez (SV, 9) came on to start the eighth inning for the Blaze in a three-run ballgame. Gonzalez gave up a leadoff single to Daniel Robertson but then retired his final six batters in a row over two innings to pick up his ninth save of the season.
The Ports and Blaze play the third game of their four-game series on Sunday afternoon at Banner Island Ballpark. Seth Streich (4-2, 2.85 ERA) will make the start for Stockton, opposed by Bakersfield right-hander Ben Lively (6-1, 0.74 ERA). First pitch is set for 2:09 p.m. PDT.