SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - After a dramatic come-from-behind victory on Friday night in High Desert, the Stockton Ports saw their late lead fall by the wayside on Thursday night at Inland Empire. The 66ers got a two-out, two-run single from Dennis Raben in the eighth inning, one of just three Inland Empire hits to lift the 66ers past the Ports by a final of 3-2.
Stockton's two runs came in back-to-back innings and Matt Olson led off the second by drawing a walk. Two batters later, Ryon Healy drove a double to right-center field to give the Ports a 1-0 lead. Bobby Crocker drew a leadoff walk in the third and after stealing second base, scored on a two-out single by Chad Pinder to make it a 2-0 advantage.
Inland Empire starter Mike Clevinger went 4.2 innings and allowed two runs on three hits as he received a no-decision.
Meanwhile, Ports starter Seth Streich retired the first nine batters he faced before surrendering a leadoff walk to Sherman Johnson to begin the fourth. Streich pitched around the walk and retired the next three batters before striking out back-to-back hitters to begin the fifth. With two outs, Streich issued a walk to Zach Wright. Anthony Bemboom followed with the 66ers first hit, an RBI double to right-center that scored Wright from first to cut the Ports lead to 2-1.
Streich went on to finish the fifth inning and would receive a no-decision as he allowed one run on one hit while striking out seven.
Michael Ynoa took over for Stockton in the sixth and tossed two scoreless innings while walking two and striking out five.
Mark Sappington (2-7) took over for Inland Empire in the sixth and allowed a single to Pinder to open the inning. Two batters later, Olson drew a second walk to put runners at first and second with one out. Sappington, however, went on to retire the next two batters to start a stretch of 11 in-a-row set down by 66ers pitching to close out the ballgame.
After Ynoa's two scoreless frames, Rodolfo Fernandez (0-2) took over in the eighth inning and walked Alex Allbritton to open the frame. Sherman Johnson followed with a single to right that put runners at the corners with nobody out. Fernandez went on to strikeout Chad Hinshaw for the first out. After Johnson stole second, Fernandez struck out Hinkle for the second out and was on the cusp of escaping the jam. Raben, though, stepped up and extended his hit streak to 15 games with a two-run single to center that vaulted the 66ers ahead 3-2.
Fernandez suffered the loss after allowing the two runs in the eighth. Sappington, who pitched three scoreless innings and allowed just one hit, picked up the win for Inland Empire.
Kurt Spomer (SV, 6) came on to pitch the ninth and set the side down in order to pick up his sixth save of the season.
The Ports and 66ers continue their four-game series on Sunday in San Bernardino. Jake Sanchez (4-0, 2.81 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Inland Empire right-hander Trevor Foss (0-0, 10.80 ERA). First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m. PDT.