LAKE ELSINORE, Calif.- The Stockton Ports got a six-game road trip off on the right foot on Friday night at The Diamond. The Ports took a one-run lead into the eighth and enjoyed a late surge as they defeated the Lake Elsinore Storm by a final of 5-1 to open a three-game set and earn their second consecutive victory.
Lake Elsinore opened the scoring in the third on a leadoff home run off the bat of Jack Suwinski to take a 1-0 lead. It was the lone run allowed by Ports starter Bryce Conley, who did not factor into the decision after going 2 1/3 innings and allowing three hits while walking one and striking out one.
Stockton evened the score in the fifth as Nico Giarratano drew a leadoff walk and scored later in the inning after Ryan Gridley singled and got hung up between second and third. After Gridley was tagged out, Giarratano beat a throw to home plate and slid across safely to tie the game at 1-1.
Storm starter Aaron Leasher (10-7) gave up a leadoff home run to Jeremy Eierman in the sixth that gave the Ports the lead for good at 2-1. Leasher would suffer the loss, going six innings and allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out four.
The Ports widened their lead in the eighth facing Storm reliever Jordan Guerrero. Trace Loehr opened the frame with a double and, two batters later, Eierman reached on an error committed by the shortstop Gabriel Arias to put runners at the corners. After Austin Beck struck out, Robert Mullen came up and delivered a two-run double that stretched the Stockton lead to 4-1. Mullen scored on an ensuing throwing error committed by Arias to make it a 5-1 contest.
Guerrero allowed three runs (one earned) on two hits while striking out three in two innings worked.
After Will Gilbert (5-1) worked 2 2/3 scoreless frames and Angel Duno turned in two scoreless innings, Trey Cochran-Gill, who joined the Ports from Double-A Midland prior to the game, pitched the final two innings without allowing a run to seal the victory for Stockton. Gilbert would pick up the victory in relief for the Ports.
The Ports and Storm play the middle game of their three-game series on Saturday night at The Diamond. Xavier Altamirano (5-9, 5.05 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Lake Elsinore left-hander Joey Cantillo (0-1, 6.23 ERA). First pitch is set for 6 p.m. PDT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.