Ports' Season Ends in Epic Extra-Inning Battle
The Stockton Ports got oh, so close to advancing to the next round of the California League playoffs. Holding a 3-1 lead in the 8th, the Ports allowed the San Jose Giants to tie the game. The two teams then engaged in an epic battle that lasted 15 innings. Ultimately, the Ports fell short, losing to the Giants, 5-3.
The Giants scored twice in the 15th when the Ports' seventh pitcher of the night, Lou Trivino, couldn't work his way out of a jam. He allowed a one-out single to Angel Villalona. After a pop-out, Villanola advanced on a wild pitch. He then came around to score with two-outs on an Aramis Garcia single between the shortstop and third baseman. Garcia took second on the throw home and would move to third on an infield hit. He then came around to score the fifth run on a wild pitch. The Ports would go down quickly in the 15th to end the game and their season.
The Ports got off to a good start when number three hitter Yairo Munoz hit a solo homerun to left-center off Giants starter Martin Agosta. The Ports continued to lead 1-0 until Brett Vertigan and J.P. Sportman hit back-to-back solo homers to give the Ports a 3-0 lead.
Matt Stalcup got the start and pitched a strong five innings. He allowed only a solo homerun to Garcia in the third. He struck-out six and walked two and worked his way out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fifth by striking out the Giants' three and four hitters, Daniel Carbonell and Villalona.
The Ports still had a 3-1 lead when Ben Bracewell came on in the eighth. Villalona began the inning with a single through the hole between first and second and Brian Ragira hit a long homerun off the batter's eye in center field to tie the game at 3.
The game turned into a battle of the bullpens. Jose Torres threw two scoreless innings before Bracewell and Joel Seddon combined to throw the eighth. Corey Walter threw three innings, striking out four. Sam Bragg took over and threw three scoreless of his own. He was helped by a weird play in the 13th. With a runner on first and nobody out, Garcia attempted to sacrifice bunt. He laid the bunt down the first base line and Bragg waited to see if it would roll foul. When it was clear it would stay fair, Bragg picked it up and threw to first. The ball got away, but the umpire ruled that Garcia interferred, recording the out and sending the runner back to first. In total, the Ports' bullpen threw 10 innings, allowing four runs.
The Ports scored all three of their runs on solo homers. They had only five hits and four walks in those 15 innings.
Midland Offense Comes Alive in Game Three Win
The Midland RockHounds moved one game closer to reaching the Texas League finals with a 9-5 win over the Corpus Christi Hooks in game three of their best-of-five series. The RockHounds scored in each of the first six innings.
The RockHounds got on the board quickly, loading the bases in the first inning with no-outs. Renato Nunez singled home a run to give Midland the early lead. Chad Pinder followed with a sacrifice fly that wound-up being a double-play when Anthony Aliotti was thrown out at third base. Despite the double-play, Midland had an early 2-0 lead and they would hold a lead for the rest of the game.
The RockHounds would score single runs in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings before they finished off their scoring with a three-run frame in the sixth. The big hit in that inning was a two-run homer by Jaycob Brugman. Brugman reached four times in the game, twice with hits, once on an error and once on a walk. He also drove-in three. Ryon Healy had four hits and Nunez had two hits and three RBI the night after he hit a grandslam.
Chris Jensen got the win with six solid innings of work. He allowed three runs on six hits and one walk. Jensen struck-out six. Tucker Healy worked a scoreless seventh despite allowing a walk and two hits. Jonathan Joseph ran into some trouble in the eighth, allowing two runs, but he was able to prevent further damage to keep the game at 9-5. Jeff Urlaub, who earned the win on Thursday, closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
Midland can clinch the series with a win on Saturday.