MODESTO, CA. - A late misplay spoiled the Modesto Nuts' comeback attempt in their 5-4 loss to the Lancaster JetHawks on Friday night at John Thurman Field.
Joe Rizzo homered in the sixth setting up the Nuts (16-19) opportunity to tie it in the seventh. Manny Pazos started the rally against JetHawks (20-15) reliever Nate Harris (W, 1-2). Anthony Jimenez tripled him home to make it a one-run game. After a groundout, Johnny Adams rolled a groundball single through the drawn-in infield to drive in the tying run.
In the top of the eighth, Scott Boches (L, 1-3) walked Ryan Vilade. Luis Castro followed and hit a line drive to right that Jimenez misplayed. He had a bad read and let the ball sail over his head for a double to put a pair of runners in scoring position. With the infield in, Boches struck out Sean Bouchard. That allowed the middle infielder to move back hoping for a chance to turn an inning-ending double play. Todd Czinege hit a one-hop rocket at the second baseman Pazos who knocked it down but was unable to field the ball cleanly. That forced him to throw to first to get only one out allowing the go-ahead run to score.
The Nuts stranded runners in scoring position in the eighth and ninth innings as Salvador Justo (S, 3/4) locked up a four-out save.
Luis Liberato recorded four hits with two doubles and a run scored.
Ray Kerr started the game for the Nuts and worked a season-high six innings. He surrendered four runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and one walk.
Matt Dennis heaved six strong innings giving up two runs on five hits with five strikeouts and one walk.
The Nuts try to even up the series with Lancaster in game two on Saturday night. First pitch against the JetHawks is at 7:05 p.m. Coverage on ModestoNuts.com will start at 6:50 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.