STOCKTON, Calif.- The Stockton Ports were held to just two hits on Friday night at San Manuel Stadium. Despite the change in venue on their six-game Southern California road trip, the result remained the same as Stockton remained winless on the trip, falling to the Inland Empire 66ers by a final of 7-2 to open a three-game series.
The 66ers took advantage of two Ports errors in the third inning to get on the board first. With runners at second and third and nobody out, Jordan Zimmerman hit a ball deep in the hole to shortstop Jeremy Eierman. Eierman made a diving stop and threw to first, but the throw was dropped by first baseman Hunter Hargrove, an error that loaded the bases with nobody out. Leonardo Rivas came up next and hit into a 6-4-3 double-play that brought in the first run of the game. Franklin Torres followed with a single to left-center that scored a second run and gave the 66ers a 2-0 lead.
The two runs in the third inning were unearned and the only runs allowed by Ports starter Xavier Altamirano, who was rendered a no-decision in the contest.
Inland Empire starter Cooper Criswell did not allow a hit until Nick Allen led off the fourth inning with a triple. Allen scored on an ensuing sac-fly by Jameson Hannah that cut the 66ers lead to 2-1. It was the only run allowed by Criswell, who was rendered a no-decision after going five innings and allowing just the one hit while walking one and striking out three.
Andrew Wantz (3-2) took over for Criswell in the sixth and issued a one-out walk to JJ Schwarz. Allen followed with a double to left to put runners at second and third and Hannah again supplied a sac-fly to center to tie the game at 2-2. Beginning with that sac-fly, however, Wantz would go on to retire 11 of the final 12 Stockton hitters of the game and go on to earn the win, allowing just the one run on one hit in four innings of work.
Pat Krall (0-2) took over for Altamirano in the fifth and would allow the 66ers to take the lead back in the sixth. Michael Cruz and Ryan Vega led off with back-to-back doubles that gave the 66ers a 3-2 advantage. After back-to-back outs were recorded by Krall, Zane Gurwitz hit a two-out RBI single to left to make it a 4-2 game and chase Krall from the contest. Nick Highberger came on in relief and walked Jordan Zimmerman to put two aboard. Rivas followed with a two-run double to left to balloon the 66ers lead to 6-2.
Krall would suffer the loss, going 1 2/3 innings and allowing three runs on four hits while striking out one. Highberger pitched 1 1/3 innings and allowed one run on one hit. Inland Empire added a run in the eighth facing Peter Bayer, who uncorked a wild pitch with a runner at third base.
The Ports and 66ers play the second game of their three-game series on Saturday night at San Manuel Stadium. Kyle Friedrichs (0-0, 4.05 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Inland Empire right-hander Denny Brady (1-3, 3.97 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.