BAKERSFIELD — So much for a brilliant start by Ken Cloude.
Cloude struck out 11 in five innings for the JetHawks, but the bullpen gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie and a leadoff home run in the 11th, giving the Bakersfield Blaze a 4-3 victory before 1,017 fans Saturday night at Sam Lynn Ballpark.
Bakersfield third baseman Juan Espinal hit a 1-and-0 pitch from JetHawk reliever Tom Szimanski (0-1) over the right-center-field wall, preventing the JetHawks from sweeping the season-opening three-game series.
The Blaze, which had not been able to do anything with two JetHawk pitchers through eight innings, led off the ninth trailing, 3-1, against closer John Thompson with singles by Jeff Martin and Kevin Bentley.
After a sacrifice moved runners to second and third, Doug Carroll drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. It was the first run the JetHawk bullpen had yielded in 11 2/3 innings.
It spoiled the outing for Cloude, 21, the youngest and least-experienced JetHawk starter.
Cloude showed Saturday night why Manager Dave Brundage set the rotation for him to start the JetHawks' home opener.
He allowed one run on three hits.
He also showed some poise in the fourth, when he hit his only rough spot.
After giving up a run on a leadoff walk and two consecutive singles, he struck out a hitter and walked another to load the bases. But he escaped the jam by striking out the next two hitters, the second on a nasty slider.
He struck out the side in the fifth, then was pulled with a 2-1 lead after throwing 87 pitches.
It was the third solid start by a JetHawk pitcher in three games. JetHawk starters have allowed just three earned runs in 15 innings.
John Daniels followed Cloude to the mound and pitched three scoreless innings before yielding to Thompson.
While JetHawk pitchers were whipping through the Bakersfield lineup, the hitters couldn't do much with Blaze starter Bob Oldham.
Oldham's only weakness was his control. He walked four hitters in the second to give the JetHawks the game's first run.
In the fourth, a one-out walk led to a run after a single by Luis Molina and a run-scoring single by Marcus Sturdivant.
Sturdivant's seventh hit in three games gave the JetHawks a 2-0 lead.
The JetHawks extended the lead to 3-1 on Shane Monahan's two-out single in the ninth. The hit broke an 0-for-8 streak for Monahan.
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