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Six-Run First Propels Ports To 9-3 Win

June 9, 2015

STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Ports fell behind early on Tuesday night, but the deficit didn't last long. After the Inland Empire 66ers scored two runs in the top of the first, the Ports countered with six in the home half on their way to a 9-3 win that evens their series with the 66ers at a game apiece.

Inland Empire got off to a fast start in the first as Ruben Sosa doubled to left to open the game and scored on an ensuing single by Bo Way to give the 66ers the initial 1-0 lead. Way would go on to score later in the inning on a two-out RBI single by Kody Eaves to make it a 2-0 game.

Stockton's offense came out and landed a haymaker in the bottom of the first. Back-to-back singles by Brett Vertigan and J.P. Sportman put runners at the corners to start the frame, John Nogowski drove in a run with an RBI groundout to third to cut the 66ers lead to 2-1. After Tyler Marincov struck out, Matt Chapman extended the inning with an infield single and Branden Cogswell followed with a game-tying single to center. Beau Taylor came up next and drew a walk and, after a wild pitch scored Chapman from third to make it 3-2, B.J. Boyd added a three-run homer to give Stockton a 6-2 lead.

The Ports added on in the fourth. Boyd drew a walk to open the inning and scored on an ensuing RBI double by Melvin Mercedes. Stockton would chase 66ers starter Harrison Cooney (1-4) from the game in the fifth. After a hit batsman and an error put two aboard to start the inning, Taylor delivered an RBI single to left to make it an 8-2 lead. Two batters later, Mercedes singled to load the bases, at which point Cooney was lifted for Eric Alonzo who gave up an RBI single to Vertigan that ballooned the Ports lead to 9-2.

Cooney suffered the loss, going 4.1 innings and allowing nine runs (eight earned) on eight hits while walking four and striking out three.

Ports starter Dylan Covey (6-3), meanwhile, settled in nicely after a rocky first inning and allowed just two hits the remainder of his outing. Covey won his fourth straight decision, going five innings and allowing two runs on six hits while striking out six.

Sam Bragg pitched a scoreless sixth and Matt Stalcup came on to pitch the seventh and set down the side in order in his first inning of relief. In the eighth, Stalcup hit Eric Aguilera with one out and then gave up an ensuing single to Michael Snyder that moved Aguilera to third. Aguilera would go on to score on a wild pitch to cut the Ports lead to 9-3. It was the only run surrendered by the Stockton bullpen in the contest.

Brendan McCurry pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the game for the Ports.

The Ports and 66ers will play the rubber match of their three-game series on Wednesday night at Banner Island Ballpark. Kyle Finnegan (3-3, 5.79 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Inland Empire right-hander Victor Alcantara (2-4, 5.33 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. PDT.