STOCKTON, Calif. - Stockton Ports starting pitcher Kyle Finnegan (3-4) went through a stretch where he retired 12 batters in-a-row on Wednesday night at Banner Island Ballpark, but Inland Empire 66ers starter Victor Alcantara (3-4) was a little bit better. Alcantara allowed just two hits over seven scoreless frames as the 66ers took the rubber match of a three-game series with the Ports by a final of 3-1.
Inland Empire got off to a fast start in the first as Ruben Sosa drew a leadoff walk and scored on a two-out RBI double by Michael Snyder to give the 66ers a 1-0 lead. Finnegan would go on to retire the next 12 batters in-a-row after surrendering the double to take him two outs deep into the fifth.
Alcantara, meanwhile, went through a stretch where he retired 10 straight hitters taking him two outs deep into the fifth. The string was broken up by Nick Rickles who tripled to center with two outs in the fifth to give the Ports their first hit. Rickles, though, would be stranded at third.
The 66ers added to their lead in the sixth. With one on and one out, Eric Aguilera hit a two-run homer to right to make it a 3-0 ballgame. Those were the final runs allowed by Finnegan, who suffered the loss after going 5.2 innings and allowing three runs on six hits while striking out five.
Alcantara gave up his second and final hit to begin the seventh inning, a double to Michael Soto, but pitched around it as he set down the next three batters in-a-row to complete his outing. Alcantara earned the victory, going seven scoreless innings and allowing two hits while striking out four.
Stockton's lone run came in the eighth off 66ers reliever Brian Loconsole (SV, 1). With one out, Franklin Barreto doubled to center and B.J. Boyd followed with a single that put runners at the corners. Brett Vertigan came up next and hit a sac-fly to left to score Barreto and cut the Ports deficit to 3-1. After Melvin Mercedes singled to put the possible-tying run aboard, Soto struck out to end the inning.
Loconsole stayed in to pitch the ninth and, after striking out back-to-back hitters to open the inning, walked Branden Cogswell to get the possible-tying run to the plate. Loconsole would go on to strike out Rickles to end the ballgame, completing a strikeout of the side and notching his first save of the season.
After dropping two of three to Inland Empire, the Ports hit the road on Thursday to begin a seven-game Southern California road trip which starts in Rancho Cucamonga with a four-game set versus the Quakes. Joel Seddon (3-4, 4.59 ERA) makes the start for Stockton in the series opener, opposed by Rancho Cucamonga right-hander John Richy (6-2, 3.99 ERA). First pitch from Loan Mart Field is set for 7:05 p.m. PDT.