San Bernardino, CA- The Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino pitching quartet of Joe Gatto, Ryan Clark, Adrian Almeida and Matt Custred combined on a five-hit, 15-strikeout shutout and made a first inning run hold up in a 1-0 win over the Modesto Nuts. Jared Walsh's RBI double in the first inning proved to the lone run-producing hit in the series opener between Inland Empire (3-2) and the defending California League Champion Nuts.
In the bottom of the first, Sixers' leadoff man Luis Rengifo singled against Modesto starter Darren McCaughan (0-1). Rengifo, who finished the contest 1-for-3 with a walk and a pair of stolen bases, moved to second on a ground out and then came home when Walsh yanked a two-out RBI double down the right field line. 66ers' starter Gatto tossed the first four frames allowing three hits and a pair of the Sixers' four walks on the night; the Hammonton, NJ native also punched out seven of the club's first 15 Ks. Ryan Clark (1-0) gave up a leadoff triple in the fifth to Nuts (1-4) SS Bryson Brigman and a leadoff double in the sixth to Nick Zammerelli but worked out of both jams. Almeida tossed a scoreless seventh and eighth. In the ninth, an error allowed a baserunner Gareth Morgan aboard against reliever Matt Custred. The righty, activated on the roster Monday, struck out back to back batters with Morgan at second via a stolen base. He then got Seattle Mariners OF Ben Gamel, with Modesto on an injury rehab assignment to line out to right to end the game. The Nuts were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Inland Empire pitchers have combined to strikeout 59 opposing batters through the first five games of the season.
The series continues Saturday at 6:05 pm. The contest can be heard live at 66ers.com
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.