Stockton, CA- The Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino got five innings of scoreless work out of the bullpen in a 5-3 win at Banner Island Ballpark on Wednesday. Garrett Nuss (2-0) earned the win for the Sixers with three perfect innings of work notching three Ks as the 66ers evened a three-game set at a game apiece.
Kyle Survance Jr. singled in the first versus Stockton (17-23) starter AJ Puk and two walks later came home on Taylor Ward's sac fly. Survance Jr. finished the night with three hits for Inland Empire (21-19). Sean Murphy notched a RBI double to right for the Ports in the second against IE starter Jesus Castillo making it 1-1. Neither starter figured in the decision. Jose Rojas' RBI single gave the Sixers a 2-1 lead in the fourth scoring Jordan Serena.
In the bottom of the fourth the Ports took the lead when Josh Vidales delivered a two-run single to make it 3-2. Vidales has knocked in six of the seven runs Stockton has scored in the series thus far. Inland Empire bounced back in the fifth however against reliever Will Gilbert (0-1). With one out and the bases loaded Connor Justus bounced a ball to short that was mishandled by Ports shortstop Eli White. The play went for an error on White and a RBI for Justus tying the game at 3-3; the potential double-play ball loomed large in the frame as Serena knocked home the go-ahead run with an RBI infield hit two batters later making it 4-3. In the seventh the Sixers added an insurance run when Michael Barash collected his second base hit of the night and his fourth trip on base to open the inning. After Taylor Ward walked and Justus' sac bunt moved the runners up Barash came home on Cody Ramer's RBI ground out.
After Castillo went the first four frames for the Sixers allowing three runs on six hits with two walks and three Ks the bullpen suffocated the Ports. Nuss dominated retiring all nine batters he faced. Sam Holland then allowed lone hits in both the eighth and ninth but fanned three including the final two batters of the game to lock down his fifth save.
The series concludes Thursday at 11:10 AM. THe contest can be heard live at 66ers.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.