SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - The Stockton Ports entered their six-game Southern California road trip winners of eight of their last 10 games. They ended the trip on Sunday afternoon losers of six straight. The Inland Empire 66ers drew a season-high nine walks from Ports pitching and completed a three-game sweep by sending the Ports to a 7-3 loss at San Manuel Stadium.
The tone in the game was set early as the Ports loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the first and failed to score. 66ers starter Oliver Ortega got three straight strikeouts of Jeremy Eierman, Trace Loehr and Hunter Hargrove to escape the inning unscathed. It started a game in which the Ports went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, following up a 1-for-15 performance on Saturday night in that same category. Ortega would not factor into the decision, going four scoreless innings and allowing two hits while walking four and striking out seven.
Inland Empire scored its first run in the fourth. Devin Davis led off with a double and scored later in the inning on a sac-fly by Alvaro Rubalcaba to give the 66ers a 1-0 lead. Ports starter Mitchell Jordan (3-3) worked into the fifth but issued back-to-back walks to open the inning followed by an RBI double hit by Torii Hunter, Jr. that made it a 2-0 game. Jordan was lifted at that point for Jake Bray, who gave up a two-run double to Davis that made it a 4-0 66ers advantage. Bray would go on to walk three consecutive batters, including Rubalcaba with the bases loaded to run the score to 5-0.
Jordan suffered the loss, going four-plus innings and allowing four runs on four hits while walking a season-high four and striking out two. Bray pitched one inning and allowed one run on one hit while walking three and striking out two.
Will Gilbert pitched the sixth and committed a throwing error to first base on a comebacker to the mound that allowed a sixth run to score. The run was unearned and the only run allowed by Gilbert in two innings of relief.
Nate Bertness (2-0) came on in relief of Ortega to start the fifth and pitched three scoreless innings as he worked into the eighth. In the eighth, Lazaro Armenteros hit a solo homer with one out that put the Ports on the board. Eierman followed and drew a walk and Loehr came up next and doubled to right field to score Eierman and make it 6-2. At that point, Austin Warren was summoned in relief and gave up a triple to Hunter Hargrove that cut the Stockton deficit to 6-3. The Ports would have runners at the corners with one out, but Warren avoided further damage by getting Jonah Bride to hit into an inning-ending double-play.
Bertness would pick up the win in the contest, going 3 1/3 innings and allowing three runs on three hits. Warren would pitch a scoreless ninth to close out the game and the win for the 66ers.
Inland Empire added a run in the eighth on a two-out RBI single by Kyle Survance, Jr. off of Ports reliever Sam Sheehan, who'd issued back-to-back two-out walks leading up to the hit.
After an 0-6 road trip, the Ports return home to Banner Island Ballpark on Monday to open a seven-game homestand, beginning with a four-game series with the Lake Elsinore Storm. Brady Feigl (2-1, 3.69 ERA) makes the start in the series opener for Stockton, opposed by Storm right-hander Luis Patino (2-3, 3.75 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.