STOCKTON, Calif. - For a second straight game, the Stockton Ports struggled offensively at Banner Island Ballpark. The Ports mustered just four hits in a 4-1 loss to the Modesto Nuts, Modesto's fifth consecutive victory over Stockton.
The Nuts jumped in the run column early on a one-out solo homer by Jack Larsen in the top of the first off Ports starter Joel Seddon (0-1). Larsen would spark the Nuts again in the third with a one-out single followed by a double from Cal Raleigh that put runners at second and third. Luis Liberato grounded out to shortstop to bring in Larsen and give the Nuts a 2-0 lead. In the third, Joe Rizzo led off with a double and advanced to third on a groundout. At that point, Seddon was lifted for Jesus Zambrano, who got a strikeout of Ariel Sandoval. With two outs, though, Zambrano would uncork a wild pitch that scored Rizzo from third and made it a 3-0 game.
Seddon would suffer the loss, going 3 1/3 innings and allowing three runs on six hits while striking out three.
Zambrano would retire the first eight batters he faced taking him into the seventh inning. With a runner at first and two outs in the seventh, Connor Kopach lined an RBI double to right-center to stretch the Nuts lead to 4-0. It was the only run allowed by Zambrano in 3 2/3 innings of relief.
After Nuts opener Matt Walker set the side down in order in the first, Austin Hutchison (1-4) came on in the second and survived a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the fourth. After keeping the Ports out of the run column through six, Hutchison allowed a solo homer to Jeremy Eierman that provided the Ports with their lone run of the night. It was Eierman's second home run in the last three games.
Hutchison would pick up his first win of the season, going six innings and allowing four hits while striking out a season-high eight.
Joey Gerber (SV, 4) set the side down in order in the ninth and recorded two strikeouts to notch his fourth save of the season. Peter Bayer pitched the final two innings for Stockton without allowing a run. Bayer struck out the side in the ninth.
The Ports and Nuts play the middle game of their three-game series on Saturday night at Banner Island Ballpark. Xavier Altamirano (1-2, 5.92 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Modesto left-hander Ray Kerr (0-1, 5.09 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. PDT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.