SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - The Inland Empire 66ers scored the last four runs of Sunday afternoon's contest at San Manuel Stadium. In doing so, they handed the Stockton Ports a 4-2 loss in the rubber game of a three-game series that saw the Ports go 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
Stockton scored the first two runs of the contest, beginning with a clutch single by Jameson Hannah in the third inning. With two on and two out, Hannah delivered an RBI single to center to give the Ports a 1-0 lead. It was the only run allowed by 66ers starter Simon Mathews, who worked four innings and surrendered three hits while walking three and striking out seven.
Connor Higgins took over for Inland Empire in the fifth and the Ports tagged him for a run in the sixth. Austin Beck, who went 3-for-4 on the afternoon, led off with a single and scored later in the inning on a sac-fly by Jordan Devencenzi with the bases loaded and one out to make it a 2-0 ballgame. It was the only run allowed by Higgins in his California League debut, which lasted two innings.
Ports starter Brady Feigl was terrific out of the gate, setting down 15 of his first 17 batters to open his outing and pitching around a one-out triple in the third by Jordan Zimmerman. With one out in the sixth, however, Feigl hit a snag and gave up three straight singles, the last one coming off the bat of Torii Hunter, Jr. that put Inland Empire on the board and made it a 2-1 game. With Franklin Torres at third base and one out, Devin Davis grounded out to drive him in and tie the game at 2-2.
Feigl worked into the seventh, where he recorded back-to-back strikeouts to open the inning and was then lifted for Sam Sheehan (0-3). Sheehan gave up back-to-back singles to Zimmerman and Kevin Williams, Jr., followed by back-to-back walks to Torres and Ryan Scott with the second walk coming with the bases loaded and giving Inland Empire a 3-2 lead.
Sheehan would suffer the loss after working a third of an inning in relief of Feigl, who was rendered a no-decision after 6 2/3 innings as he allowed two runs on five hits while striking out five without issuing a walk.
Peter Bayer took over for Stockton in the eighth and gave up a leadoff triple to Davis followed by an ensuing single to Michael Cruz with the infield in that stretched the 66ers lead to 4-2.
Austin Warren (2-3) pitched around back-to-back two-out singles in the seventh and around a leadoff single in the eighth to keep the Ports out of the run column. Jorge Tavarez (SV, 4) worked around a one-out walk and a two-out single by Beck in the ninth to record his fourth save of the season.
The Ports return home on Monday to begin a three-game series with the Modesto Nuts at Banner Island Ballpark. Xavier Altamirano (1-3, 4.95 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Modesto right-hander Ljay Newsome (5-2, 2.01 ERA). First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. PDT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.