MODESTO, CA. - A balk was the difference in the Modesto Nuts' 3-2 loss to the Lancaster JetHawks on Saturday night at John Thurman Field.
Joey Gerber (L, 0-2) started the top of the ninth for the Nuts (16-20) and gave up back-to-back singles to start the ninth. Sean Bouchard sacrificed them both into scoring position for Todd Czinege. Before Gerber threw a pitch, he was called for a balk by home plate umpire Trevor Dannegger to allow the go-ahead run to score. Gerber did not allow another run.
Salvador Justo (S, 4/5) nailed down the save with a perfect ninth inning for the JetHawks' (21-15) fifth straight win.
The Nuts had taken the first lead of the game when Cal Raleigh went yard in the second at-bat of the game. Antonio Santos started the game for the JetHawks and allowed just one more run on a RBI single to Johnny Adams in the second inning. Santos went seven innings allowing just the two runs on six hits with six strikeouts and one walk.
The JetHawks did their damage in the third inning against Nuts starter Ljay Newsome. Matt Hearn tripled home a run and Carlos Herrera plated the tying run with a RBI double. That was all Newsome allowed over six innings while he struck out four to add to his MiLB leading strikeout total which now sits at 63.
Both Sam Tuivailala and Gerson Bautista each made rehab appearances with the Nuts for the Mariners. Tuivailala struck out the side in the seventh. Bautista walked one and struck out one in a scoreless eighth inning.
The Nuts try to avoid a sweep in the three-game series finale on Sunday afternoon. First pitch against the JetHawks is at 2:05 p.m. Coverage on ModestoNuts.com will start at 1:50 p.m. Listen live online on your phone, tablet or PC by clicking HERE
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.