Bakersfield managed to do something they haven’t done for the last couple of weeks. They managed to string together multiple runs (4) in one inning (4th), and in doing so delivered an exciting hard fought victory over the Stockton Ports, with a 6-5 win. The Blaze also halted a 5 game losing streak in the 11 innings it took to get the job done.
This was a contest that had both teams going at it from the start, as the Ports were able to strike first with a run off Blaze starter Tim Crabbe in the 1st, but Crabbe was able to get out of it with only the single run, as he stranded runners at 2nd and 3rd to keep them within striking distance.
In the 4th inning, Stockton’s Rashun Dixon ripped an opposite field homer (11) to center, and it gave the Ports a 2-0 lead. Then in the bottom half, Chris Richburg singled to right off Stockton starter Rob Gilliam, and back-to-back walks to Stephen Hunt and Alex Buchholz loaded the bases. Mark Fleury then delivered a single to right center on the first pitch, as it brought in 2 runs to tie it, and they would go on to add 2 more to take a 4-2 lead.
The game still had a long way to go and was far from over, as Michael Choice whacked a 2-run homer to left off reliever Clayton Shunick, and it was tied it at 4-4. Two innings later, Stockton took a 5-4 lead on a throwing error (and big mental breakdown) in the 9th. With runners in the corners and 2 outs, Blaze catcher Mark Fleury inexplicably threw to second in an attempt to thwart a steal, and it proved costly, as Michael Gilmartin came in from third on the throwing error.
In the bottom half, with Josh Lansford looking for his 5th save, he retired A.J. Means on a grounder, then served one up to Dayne Read, who cracked a fastball over the trees in left, and the two clubs continued for some extra added fun. And the fun was just getting started, with Doug Salinas setting down the side in the 10th, as well as Lansford in the bottom half. Derrik Lutz (W 1-0, 0.00 ERA) came in to work a 1-2-3 eleventh inning, and it was up to Ports reliever Connor Hoehn (L 1-2, 5.33 ERA) to keep pace and do the same. Unfortunately for the Ports, he was not up to the task. After Fleury was issued a walk, Hoehn did not pay enough attention, as Fleury successfully stole (4) 2nd . Andrew Means then grounded to second, but second baseman Connor Crumbliss flubbed it, and Means was safe on the error while Fleury advanced to 3rd. With Dayne Read batting, Means advanced to 2nd on defensive indifference. After Read walked to load the bases, Hoehn then uncorked a wild pitch that brought Fleury in with the game winner, and the fans were rewarded with a dramatic ending.
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