STOCKTON, Calif--- Inland Empire drowned its four game losing streak by enduring long delays due to wet weather on the way to a 9-5 victory at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton Tuesday. Second-baseman Chris Gutierrez delivered the deciding blow in the sixth inning, with a two run single off Daniel Thomas, who had only allowed one hit on the year prior to that point.
The win brings the 66ers (6-7) back into the win column, snapping a four game losing streak. Stockton (5-7) falls for the fourth time in five home games this season.
The odds were looking long against the two teams getting on the field at all, as poor weather reports plagued the Ports' Banner Island Ballpark. However the two teams were able to get on the field just 15 minutes after the scheduled start time. The tarp would not stay off the field for the rest of the day, but it did long enough for Inland Empire to jump out to a 2-0 lead thanks to back-to-back-to-back hits by Cesar Suarez, Kyle Russell, and Pedro Baez.
Then the rain came again, washing away the next 1:28 and nearly the remainder of the contest for the day. When the game resumed, Inland Empire picked up right where it left off striking for two more runs in the top of the first on Alfredo Silverio's two run single.
The sixty sixers had to start the game pitching fromthe bullpen because Ethan Martin's start was washed away after sitting almost two hours after originally warming up prior to the rain delay. Kyle Smit filled in the first four innings. He allowed five runs on six hits while on the bump, including a two-run home run by Stockton catcher Petey Paramore to give the Ports the lead 5-4. Kenley Jansen (1-0) took over in the fifth and impressively struck out five of the eight batters he faced in two scoreless innings, eventually gaining his first win of the season.
With the skies threatening again Gutierrez entered the sixth with two men in scoring position and one out when he delivered his decisive blow, giving the 66ers a lead they would not relinquish. One inning later the skies opened again, and put the game back on hold for another 57 minutes.
After that storm cell cleared the 66ers' offense struck for two more runs on an Alfredo Silverio RBI sac fly in the 7th, and RBI single in the 9th. He ended the game with a team high four RBI, and Paul Koss ended it on the mound securing his second save of the season and the team's sixth win.
The rubber match of the series will be played tomorrow with Geison Aguasviva taking the mound for the Sixty Sixers, against Kenny Smalley of the Ports. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM, and you can hear all the action beginning with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians' pregame show at 6:55 PM on 1050 AM KCAA, with Sam Farber on the call.
The Sixty Sixers return home Monday, April 26th to start a seven game series. The homestand includes a Saturday Fireworks Spectacular on May 1st, and a USC themed Dodger hat giveaway Sunday, May 2nd sponsored by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. Tickets can be bought at the team websitem www.66ers.com, with no print at home fees this season, or to get group ticketing information call the Inland Empire Sixty Sixers front office at (909)888-9922.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.