MODESTO, Calif. - The Stockton Ports pitching staff allowed two hits and retired 19 of the final 20 batters they faced on Wednesday night at John Thurman Field. The offense provided a pair of clutch two-out hits that proved to be enough as the Ports beat the Nuts by a final of 5-2.
Stockton broke the scoreless tie in the top of the third. With the bases loaded and one out, Chris Iriart popped out to the third baseman as the runners were forced to hold. In need of a clutch hit, the Ports turned to Seth Brown who lined a two-out, two-run single to center to give Stockton a 2-0 lead. Those were the only runs allowed by Nuts starter Anthony Misiewicz, who did not factor into the decision after going five innings and allowing two runs on three hits.
Ports starter A.J. Puk pitched around a leadoff double in the first and a strikeout-passed ball that started the second. With one out in the third, Puk issued back-to-back walks to Braden Bishop and Chris Mariscal. Puk would strike out Logan Taylor and after a wild pitch, would work to Joey Curletta with runners at second and third with two outs. Curletta hit a bouncing ball to third that kicked off the glove of Mikey White, an error that allowed both runners to score and tie the game at 2-2.
Puk would get Gianfranco Wawoe to fly out to end the inning, and that out started a stretch of 18 consecutive batters retired by Ports pitching, taking them two outs deep into the ninth inning. Puk would impress again in his third outing of the season, going four innings and allowing two unearned runs on one hit. Puk recorded seven strikeouts, giving him a total of 20 in 12 innings pitched on the year.
Boomer Biegalski (1-0) entered to begin the fifth for Stockton and was impressive in his California League debut. Biegalski retired all 12 batters he faced over four innings worked while striking out one as he earned the win in his debut.
Kody Kerski (0-1) took over for Modesto in the sixth and retired the first five batters he faced taking him two outs deep into the seventh. Brett Siddall would extend the inning with a single to left and Tyler Ramirez followed with a single to right to put two aboard with two outs. Eli White would step to the plate and deliver a two-out, two-run double to left that broke the 2-2 tie to give the Ports a 4-2 advantage.
Kerski would suffer the loss after allowing two runs on three hits in two innings worked.
The Ports added a run of insurance in the eighth when Brown homered to right off Nuts reliever Joe Pistorese, Brown's third home run of the season, to make it 5-2.
Carlos Navas (SV, 1) entered to pitch the ninth and allowed a two-out double to Wawoe, Modesto's second hit of the night. Navas, though, would get Donnie Walton to pop out to the shortstop Eli White to end the ballgame and notch his first save of the season.
The Ports and Nuts wrap up their four-game set with a matinee on Thursday at John Thurman Field. Casey Meisner (1-2, 12.46 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Modesto right-hander Reggie McClain (2-0, 2.13 ERA). First pitch is set for 2:05 p.m. PDT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.