BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian
The Bakersfield Blaze produced some more late-game heroics, just not quite enough of them this time.
One night after rallying for three eighth-inning runs to win its first game of the season, the Bakersfield fought back to tie things with a run in the ninth but eventually lost 4-3 to Stockton in 12 innings at Sam Lynn Ballpark.
Josh Whitaker put the Ports (7-3) ahead for good with an RBI single off Blaze reliever Mike Dennhardt (1-1), who took the loss.
Jake Brown (1-0) pitched two perfect innings, racking up three strikeouts, to earn the win.
Kyle Waldrop and Juan Silverio each hit ninth-inning doubles to help Bakersfield (1-9) draw even with Stockton. However, the Blaze lineup was completely silent after that.
Silverio finished 2-for-5 with an RBI. He was the only Blaze player to have multipile hits.
Whitaker and Max Muncy had two hits each for the Ports, who outhit the Blaze, 8-7. Stockton's biggest advantage offensively was its ability to draw 11 walks off six Bakersfield pitchers. Stockton pitchers issued only one free pass.
Blaze starting pitcher Rhadames Quezada continued his early-season control problems. The 6-foot-2 right-hander from the Dominican Republic walked eight batters before being lifted with two outs in the third inning.
Quezada, who walked seven in two innings during his first start of the season, gave up three runs on two hits to Stockton. He also had three strikeouts.
The Ports' first three runs were largely the result of walks.
In the first inning Josh Whitaker smacked a two-run, bases-loaded single after Quezada issued consecutive free passes to Max Muncy, Dusty Robinson and Tony Thompson.
Two innings later, Stockton upped its lead to 3-1 when B.A. Vollmuth singled to left following back-to-back walks by Robinson and Thompson.
Stockton starter Andres Avila recovered from a rocky beginning on the hill to turn in a solid effort.
The Blaze started the game by parlaying a Sammy Diaz walk and Ryan Wright single into a first-inning run. Avila then retired 11 batters in a row before Silverio cracked a solo home run off him in the fifth.
Avila ended up going six innings. He gave up two earned runs on three hits and a walk, while striking out four before exiting the game.
Robinson, a Centennial High and Fresno State product, finished 0-for-3 with three walks and three runs scored, including the game-winner.
The two teams wrap up their four-game series today. First pitch is slated for 11:30 a.m.