Modesto, CA. - After blowing the save in the top of the ninth, Kevin Santa was the hero with a walk-off RBI single to give the Modesto Nuts a 4-3 win against the San Jose Giants on Saturday night at John Thurman Field.
In the top of the ninth, Wyatt Mills (W, 5-0) checked in for the Nuts (27-35) to try and secure the one-run save. He surrendered a leadoff single that reached second when Bryce Johnson came to the plate. With two outs, Johnson hit a one-hopper to shortstop Donnie Walton who failed to corral the ball allowing Johnson to reach and allowed the tying run to go to third. Mills would uncork a wild pitch allowing the tying run to cross home.
In the bottom of the ninth, Peter Lannoo (L, 1-2) came on for the Giants (31-31) tasked with getting the game to extra innings. He recorded the first two outs quickly. Nick Zammarelli singled to start the game-winning rally. Joe Rizzo singled and Bryson Brigman was intentionally walked to load the bases. Down to his final strike, Kevin Santa rolled a ball up the middle. Shortstop CJ Hinjosa fielded the ball and tried to flip to second for the force to end the inning but the second baseman Jalen Miller wasn't there. The flip rolled to the mound while Zammarelli scored the game-winning run.
The offense started early in the game. Jalen Miller, as the second batter of the game, drilled a two-run homer against Ljay Newsome. That was all the Nuts' starter would allow. The Giants had loaded the bases against Newsome in the fourth with two outs. Newsome got an infield pop out and a strikeout to end the threat. That started a stretch of eight in a row sent down by Newsome to finish his start. Newsome worked six innings allowing seven hits but just two runs with five strikeouts and one run.
The Nuts had tied the game in the first inning. Luis Liberato doubled to start the frame before Donnie Walton walked. Kyle Lewis doubled home the first run. Zammarelli ripped a single to score Walton to tie the game. Logan Webb was able to strand two more runners in scoring position to end the threat in that inning and keep the game tied.
Liberato had given the Nuts the lead in the sixth on a RBI double. Liberato went 2-for-5 with two doubles, a RBI and a run scored. Kyle Lewis had two hits including his RBI double.
The Nuts and Giants battle in the rubber game of the three-game series on Sunday afternoon 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.