Saturday night in Rancho Cucamonga was a perfect night for baseball. Great weather, post-game fireworks and a Corey Seager bobblehead giveaway made for a sold out ballpark. MLBers Scott Van Slyke and Joel Peralta were in Quakes uniforms with tons of Dodger blue on display in the stands.
But the visiting Stockton Ports weren’t interested in seeing the South Division leading Quakes inch any closer to a first-half title. Stockton broke out the bats and put up 14 runs on 14 hits, knocking around seven Rancho Cucamonga pitchers in the process. The final score was 14-2 and the Quakes still have some work to do to clinch a playoff berth.
Dodgers #9 prospect Zack Bird started for Rancho and made it through a scoreless first inning, 1-2-3. In the bottom of the first, Van Slyke doubled down the right-field line, 1B Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers’ #17 prospect, doubled him in, and after a Tyler Olge double, 3B Paul Hoenecke brought Bellinger home on a sacrifice fly. 2-0 Rancho Cucamonga.
Stockton got on the board with a single run in the second inning, a long one for Bird, who threw 27 pitches. It was 2-1 Quakes, but that was the beginning of 14 unanswered runs to be scored by the Ports.
A six-run fourth inning was Bird’s undoing as he walked the first two hitters, gave up back-to-back doubles and walked another before being lifted. After 3 2/3 innings, Bird had given up six runs (five earned), on four hits and four walks. He took the loss and his record now sits at 2-3.
The Stockton barrage was led by 3B Matt Chapman, the Oakland A’s #3 prospect, with three hits, two doubles, three runs scored and an RBI. CF Matt Vertigan had three hits including a double and scored twice while driving in two.
Ports starter RHP Raul Alcantara, the A’s #9 prospect, didn’t make it out of the third inning, allowing 2 earned runs on five hits and two walks over 2 1/3. RHP Lou Trivino put a stop to the Rancho Cucamonga offense and was impressive for 4 2/3 innings, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out five to earn the win.
Van Slyke ended up going 1-for-4 with the double as the DH. Peralta came on in the fifth inning and had a 25-pitch limit. It didn’t go well for the MLB veteran as he gave up two hits and a run while facing four batters. His first pitch was laced by Hoenecke into the left-field corner for a double.
Tough result for the boisterous home crowd of 4,872. With the first half winding down, Rancho Cucamonga has a real threat on its heels in the charging Lancaster Jethawks. With the Visalia Rawhide wrapping up the North Division on this night, the South race will be fun to watch this coming week.
All Photos: Steve Cummings/CalLeagueHeat.com