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Gulls Waste Mesa’s Solid Effort and Drop 2-1 Decision to Ports

Special to The Times

Despite a strong pitching performance by right-hander Jose Mesa, the Ventura County Gulls dropped a 2-1 California League decision Saturday night to the Stockton Ports in Stockton.

Mesa (8-4) allowed two runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts in seven innings but was outpitched by Stockton’s John Ludy. The 20-year-old right-hander made the most of his first start of the season, limiting the Gulls to one unearned run on two hits and a walk in seven innings.

Ludy, who has served as a reliever all season, struck out four and increased his record to 5-3. Derek Diaz pitched two scoreless innings to record his fourth save of the year.

The Gulls struck for their only run in the top of the first thanks to a fielding lapse by Stockton shortstop Fred Williams, who misplayed Eric Yelding’s ground ball, allowing him to reach first base. Two ground outs moved Yelding to third, where he scored on Darryl Landrum’s single to left field.

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The Ports tied the game in the second with Williams atoning for his first-inning error. Tim Casey doubled to start the inning and scored one out later on a single by Williams.

Stockton scored what proved to be the game-winner in the fifth on Mike Gobbo’s double to left-center field that scored Walt Pohle. Mesa hurt himself in the inning, throwing wildly to first base on a pick-off attempt of Pohle, who moved to third on the play.

The Gulls threatened in the eighth and ninth off Diaz. Singles by Carlos Diaz and Yelding put runners at first and third with two outs in the eighth, but Santiago Garcia popped out to shortstop to end the inning.

In the ninth, Luis Reyna singled and moved to third on a ground out and a balk, but he moved no farther. Diaz struck out Geronimo Berroa and induced Jim Bishop to pop to first to end the game.

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