STOCKTON, Calif. - After a week that saw them drop six straight games, the Stockton Ports have found a way to streak in the win column again. Ports starter Matt Buschmann (1-0) didn't allow a hit in six shutout innings of work as the Ports earned their third straight win and defeated the Modesto Nuts in the first game of a three-game series by a final of 5-2 at John Thurman Field.
Buschmann and Nuts starter Ben Alsup (0-4) each threw up zero's over the first three innings of play. In the fourth, the Ports took advantage of a Modesto error and caught a break to put up a four-run inning. Renato Nunez led off the fourth with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on an ensuing single by Matt Olson to take a 1-0 lead. Ryon Healy came up next and hit a ground ball to third. Nuts third baseman Sam Mende threw to second and it pulled Juan Ciriaco off the bag, an error that allowed both runners to be safe. After Alsup recorded back-to-back strikeouts, Wade Kirkland singled to left to drive in Olson and make it 2-0. Bobby Crocker followed with a fly ball to shallow right field that was misjudged by Nuts right fielder Derek Jones as the ball fell in for a hit, allowing a third run to come home. After Daniel Robertson walked to load the bases, Billy McKinney drew a bases loaded walk to bring in Kirkland and make it 4-0.
Alsup suffered the loss after going five innings and allowing four runs (one earned) on five hits while walking five and striking out five.
Meanwhile, Buschmann pitched around an error in the third and a pair of walks in the fourth. The right-hander went on to retire his final eight batters of the game to complete his outing. Buschmann earned the win, going six scoreless innings while not allowing a hit and striking out seven.
Jonathan Joseph took over for Buschmann to start the seventh and gave up a one-out single to Derek Jones, Modesto's first hit of the ballgame. Jones scored two batters later on a two-out double by Francisco Sosa to cut the Ports lead to 4-1. It was the only run allowed by Joseph in two innings of work.
The Ports got the run back in the top of the eighth on a two-out RBI single by Robertson off Nuts reliever Nate Striz that scored Kirkland and made it 5-1.
Nolan Sanburn came on to finish the game in the ninth and gave up three straight hits with one out, a single to Mende, a double to Sosa and an RBI single to Matt Wessinger that scored Mende and made it a 5-2 game. Ciriaco came up next as the possible-tying run and hit into a game-ending 6-4-3 double-play to seal the victory for the Ports.
The Ports and Nuts play the middle game of their three-game set on Saturday night at John Thurman Field. Hunter Adkins (0-1, 6.19 ERA) will make the start for Stockton, opposed by Modesto right-hander Devin Burke (1-1, 7.11 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PDT.