MODESTO, Calif. - The Stockton Ports will have to win on Friday night to extend their season. Stockton gave up four runs in the bottom of the first inning on Thursday night on its way to an 11-5 loss to the Modesto Nuts that gives Modesto a 2-0 series lead as the best-of-five shifts to Banner Island Ballpark on Friday.
Modesto set the tone in the bottom of the first as Jordan Cowan opened the inning by reaching on a Mikey White fielding error at second base. Eric Filia followed with a single. Two batters later, Joe DeCarlo delivered an RBI single to right to give the Nuts a 1-0 lead. Two batters later with two outs, Joey Curletta lined an RBI single to left and Joe Rizzo followed with a two-run single to center to give Modesto an early 4-0 advantage.
Stockton got a run back in the top of the second as the Ports loaded the bases with two outs and Eli White drew a bases-loaded walk. Modesto, though, got the run back in the bottom of the inning as Luis Liberato led off with a triple and scored on an ensuing sac-fly by Cowan to make it a 5-1 game.
Ports starter Brandon Bailey (0-1) would suffer the loss after going just two innings and allowing five runs (two earned) on seven hits while striking out three.
The Ports would pull to within two runs in the third as Skye Bolt led off with a single and Seth Brown followed with a two-run homer to right to cut the Nuts lead to 5-3. Those were the final runs allowed by Nuts starter Spencer Herrmann, who did not factor into the decision after going four innings and allowing three runs on six hits while striking out three.
Brandon Marsonek took over for Bailey in the third and after setting the side down in order in his first inning, would fail to make it out of the fourth. With runners at the corners and one out, Kyle Lewis singled to center to score Liberato and make it 6-3. Two batters later, Marsonek issued a two-out walk to Donnie Walton and was lifted for Joey Wagman, who gave up a two-run single to Curletta that ballooned Modesto's lead to 8-3.
Marsonek would allow three runs on two hits over an inning-and-a-third. Wagman would pitch an inning-and-a-third scoreless while allowing two hits.
Andrew Tomasovich took over for Wagman to begin the sixth and, with one on and two out, gave up an RBI double to Arturo Nieto. Tomasovich worked into the seventh and would give up a two-run homer to Lewis that gave Modesto a total of 11 runs for the contest. Tomasovich allowed three runs on four hits in an inning-and-two-thirds.
Former Ports right-hander Seth Frankoff (1-0), who was claimed off waivers by the Seattle Mariners just prior to the start of the series and added to the Modesto roster, would come on in relief of Herrmann to start the fifth and worked two scoreless innings while allowing just an infield single as he picked up the win in the contest.
Bryan Bonnell took over in the seventh and gave up a solo homer to Bolt, which was the only run he allowed in two innings of work. Art Warren pitched the ninth and, after striking out the first two batters, gave up a single to Bolt followed by an RBI double to right to Brown that cut the Nuts lead to 11-5. Warren, though, would complete a strikeout of the side by getting Mikey White looking to end the ballgame.
Bolt went 4-for-5 on the night for Stockton while Brown went 2-for-4 with three RBI.
The Ports and Nuts play Game 3 of their best-of-five series on Friday night at Banner Island Ballpark with Stockton needing a win to force Game 4. Left-hander Evan Manarino will be on the mound for the Ports, opposed by Nuts right-hander Robert Dugger. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. PDT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.