Ports Fall to Rawhide in Seesaw Battle
STOCKTON, Ca. - The Visalia Rawhide scored four unanswered runs over the final two innings as the Ports fell 8-7 in a back-and-forth contest on Wednesday night at Banner Island Ballpark.
Coming off their nine-run comeback on Tuesday, the Ports (29-45) jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first three innings. Stockton loaded the bases with one out on a walk and two singles in the bottom of the second inning for Robert Puason, who hit a sacrifice fly to left field to give the Ports a 1-0 lead. Stockton struck for two more in the second on a run-scoring groundout by Brayan Buelvas and a two-out RBI single up the middle off the bat of Jose Rivas to make it 3-0.
The Rawhide (17-57) offered a quick response. Ronny Simon led off the top of the fourth inning with a solo shot to left field off of Stockton reliever Jorge Juan to cut the Ports' lead to two, and back-to-back singles followed by a hit by pitch and wild pitch scored another to trim the Ports' lead to 3-2.
Visalia tied the game at three with a run in the top of the fifth on a two-out RBI single by A.J. Vukovich, and took the lead for the first time on a walk and three wild pitches in the sixth to make it 4-3.
The Ports took the lead back in the sixth with a three run frame. Rivas led off with a double down the left field line and moved up to third base on a wild pitch. Junior Perez walked to put runners on the corners, and with one out Puason singled through the left side to tie the game at four. With runners on first and third, Lawrence Butler hit a slow ground ball to first that was mishandled on the exchange from Visalia first baseman Elian Miranda to the pitcher Liam Norris covering first base, allowing Perez to score the go-ahead run. Puason scored on a wild pitch later in the inning to make it 6-4.
Stockton made it 7-4 in the seventh when Joshwan Wright, who doubled to lead off the frame, scored from third base on a passed ball with two outs.
Once again Visalia came back, this time to tie the score with a three run top of the eighth inning against Ports' reliever Joe DeMers. Miranda doubled with one out and came around to score when Ramses Malave drove him home with a single to make it 7-5. After a pop out and a walk, Jose Curpa hit a two-out triple down the right field line to score two runs and tie the game at seven.
The Rawhide brought home the eventual winning run on back-to-back hits against Stockton reliever Oscar Tovar in the top of the ninth. With two outs and nobody on, Neyfey Castillo doubled to left field and Miranda followed with a single to give Visalia an 8-7 lead.
The Ports went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth to end the ballgame.
Tovar (2-3) took the loss for Stockton, allowing a run on two hits in his only inning. Rawhide reliever David Sanchez (1-0) got the win for Visalia with 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.
The Ports and Rawhide continue their series on Thursday night at Banner Island Ballpark at 7:05 pm. Single game tickets are on sale and available at stocktonports.com or by calling the Ports' front office at (209) 644-1900.
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