VISALIA, Calif. - The Stockton Ports were swept for the fourth time in 2017 on Sunday night at Recreation Ballpark. Stockton committed five errors and saw the Visalia Rawhide score two runs in the seventh to break a 3-3 tie, sending Stockton to a 5-3 loss and putting them five games back of Visalia for the final playoff spot in the North Division.
The Ports opened the scoring for a second straight night as they plated a run in the third inning. Nate Mondou worked a one-out walk and scored on an ensuing double by Skye Bolt. It turned out to be the only run surrendered by Rawhide starter Jon Duplantier, who went five innings and gave up three hits while walking three and striking out two.
Visalia shot back with three runs in the bottom of the third. Ben Deluzio led off with a triple and scored on an ensuing single by Jason Morozowski to tie the game at 1-1. Two batters later, Austin Byler reached on a walk to put two aboard. After a wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third, Matt Jones hit a bloop-single to left that put the Rawhide in front 2-1. Two batters later with two outs, Richie Martin committed a throwing error that allowed Byler to score and make it a 3-1 Visalia lead.
Ports starter Dalton Sawyer would not factor into the decision as he went five innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits while striking out seven.
Stockton tied the score in the sixth facing Rawhide reliever Austin Mason. With the bases loaded and two outs, Seth Brown singled back of first base to score two runs and knot the contest at 3-3. It would be the only inning of work for Mason.
Beginning with the final out of the sixth inning, Rawhide pitching would retire 10 of the final 11 Stockton batters. Yoan Lopez (1-0) pitched two perfect innings beginning in the seventh while recording strikeouts and going on to pick up his first victory. Tommy Eveld (SV, 2) notched his second save in as many games as he pitched around a one-out double in the ninth, getting back-to-back strikeouts to slam the door.
Visalia scored a pair of runs in the seventh to pull ahead facing Ports reliever Kyle Friedrichs (1-2). With one out, Morozowski hit a solo homer to left-center to give the Rawhide a 4-3 lead. Stockton's defense proceeded to commit three straight errors as Mikey White allowed Grant Heyman to reach on a fielding error, Byler reached on a dropped fly ball in left by Luis Barrera and Jones reached on a fielding error by Martin that allowed Heyman to score and make it a 5-3 contest.
Friedrichs suffered the loss as he allowed two runs (one earned) on one hit in two innings. Nolan Blackwood set the side down in order in the eighth.
Following a day off on Monday, the Ports return home on Tuesday to begin a six-game homestand beginning with a three-game series versus the San Jose Giants. Logan Shore (1-5, 4.78 ERA) takes the ball for Stockton in the series opener, opposed by San Jose southpaw Grant Watson (4-1, 3.02 ERA). 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.