LANCASTER – The JetHawks got some much-needed offense to beat Stockton, 9-7, Thursday night at The Hangar to end a five-game losing streak.
Colton Welker and Manny Melendez led the way in a 15-hit effort that kept Lancaster one game up on Inland Empire in the standings.
Stockton (25-28, 69-54) struck first with a pair of runs in the second inning, but that was all the visitors would score against Antonio Santos (3-2). Santos worked into the sixth to pick up his third win.
Lancaster (31-22, 64-59) answered with the next eight runs of the game. Bret Boswell tied things up with a two-run home run in the bottom of the second. The JetHawks went ahead, 3-2, on a Colton Welker RBI single in the third. In the fourth inning, Manny Melendez hit a two-run triple and Welker followed with another run-scoring single.
Welker and Melendez led the way for the offense, combining to go 6-for-8 with five runs batted in Thursday. Melendez finished a home run away from the cycle. Welker pushed his league-leading batting average up to .333.
Vince Fernandez added a home run in the bottom of the fifth, his 22nd of the year. Matt Milburn (7-5) allowed seven runs on 11 hits in a losing effort for Stockton.
The JetHawks scored again on a Welker double in the sixth to go up, 8-2. But Stockton fought back against the Lancaster bullpen. The Ports scored four in the seventh and once more in the eighth to make it a one-run game.
Carlos Herrera knocked in a run with a triple in the bottom of the eighth to give the JetHawks some breathing room. Justin Lawrence struck out three in the ninth to lock down his ninth save of the season.
The win ended Lancaster’s longest losing streak of the season at five games. The JetHawks had just three hits with runners in scoring position over those five games. On Thursday, they went 5-for-14 in those situations.
Here’s the box score.
Lancaster’s victory puts them one game clear of Inland Empire with 17 games left to play in the regular season. The JetHawks and 66ers don’t play again this season.
The JetHawks travel north for a series in San Jose over the weekend, the team’s last against a North Division foe. Matt Dennis (7-12) starts the opener against lefty Domenic Mazza (3-3).