STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Ports saw their eight-game losing streak come to an end in dramatic fashion on Tuesday night at Banner Island Ballpark. Down to their final strike, the Ports got an infield single from Josh Vidales on which Mikey White scored from second on a close play at the plate, giving Stockton a 4-3 win over the Inland Empire 66ers to open a three-game series.
The Ports had just one hit over the first seven innings and it brought in a pair of runs. After 66ers starter Luis Pena issued back-to-back walks to begin the third inning, Vidales lined a two-run single to right field to score Brett Siddall and Santiago Chavez, giving Stockton a 2-0 lead. Those were the only runs allowed by Pena, who did not factor into the decision after going 4.1 innings and allowing one hit while walking a season-high five and striking out three.
Stockton starter Boomer Biegalski pitched around a bases-loaded, two out jam in the second and around back-to-back walks in the third. He went three innings and allowed two hits while walking three and striking out three.
Dustin Hurlbutt took over in the fourth and retired the first five batters he faced. With two outs in the fifth, Hurlbutt gave up a single to Troy Montgomery followed by an RBI double to Matt Thaiss that cut the Ports lead to 2-1.
Inland Empire grabbed the lead in the sixth. Taylor Ward tied the game with a leadoff home run. Two batters later, Cody Ramer doubled and scored on an ensuing single by Brendon Sanger that gave the 66ers a 3-2 lead. After the Sanger single, Ports pitching would go on to retire the final 11 batters of the game.
Hurlbutt would go five innings and allow three runs on five hits while striking out six.
Matt Sergey (1-0) would set the side down in order in the eighth and go on to be the winning pitcher for Stockton.
After Connor Lillis-White pitched three scoreless innings for the 66ers and struck out five, Nathan Bates (0-1) took over in the eighth and pitched around a leadoff single. Bates came on to work the ninth and gave up back-to-back walks to Seth Brown and Mikey White to open the frame. After Chris Iriart struck out, Siddall singled to left to load the bases. Bates was then lifted for Jon Fitzsimmons, who struck out pinch-hitter Trent Gilbert. Vidales came up next and hit a weak ground ball to the right side that took second baseman Cody Ramer a long way to his right. Ramer fielded with a backhand and threw late to first. White didn't hesitate in rounding third with the winning run and beat the throw to the plate made by the first baseman Thaiss to give Stockton a 4-3 walk-off victory.
Bates, who was charged with the two ninth inning runs, suffered the loss for Inland Empire.
The Ports and 66ers play the middle game of their three-game set on Wednesday at Banner Island Ballpark. A.J. Puk (1-4, 4.15 ERA) makes the start for the Ports, opposed by 66ers right-hander Jesus Castillo (0-0, 3.38 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.