STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Ports scored the first two runs of the game in the first inning on Wednesday night and then barely made a peep the rest of the game. Stockton was held to just two singles after the fourth inning as the Modesto Nuts widened a one-run lead with a pair of runs in the ninth to hand the Ports a 5-2 loss in the rubber game of a three-game series at Banner Island Ballpark.
With two on and two out in the bottom of the first inning, the Ports got back-to-back RBI singles from Austin Beck and Jeremy Eierman to take a 2-0 lead. Those would be the only runs allowed by Nuts starter Austin Hutchison (2-5), who pitched around a jam in the fourth inning with a runner at third base and one out to preserve a one-run lead. Hutchison earned the win, going five innings and allowing five hits while walking two and striking out six.
Ports starter James Kaprielian (1-1), after striking out the side in order in the first, saw the first four batters of the second inning reach base. Matt Sanders singled, Eugene Helder doubled, and Nick Thurman walked to load the bases with nobody out. Ariel Sandoval came up next and hit a two-run double to left that tied the game at 2-2. After that double, Kaprielian would retire six straight batters, one of those being an RBI groundout by Johnny Adams that gave the Nuts a 3-2 lead.
Kaprielian suffered the loss, going three innings and allowing three runs on three hits while walking one and striking out four. He threw 49 pitches, 36 for strikes.
Stockton's offense was shut down over the final four innings by Scott Boches and Sam Delaplane (SV, 2), who each pitched two scoreless frames. Delaplane earned the save by pitching the final two innings for Modesto.
Sam Sheehan pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Kaprielian and Wandisson Charles followed with two scoreless innings while striking out four in his California League debut.
Seth Martinez took over in the eighth and, after working a scoreless eighth inning, gave up two runs in the ninth on a two-run single by Adams that widened the Nuts lead to 5-2.
The Ports embark on a four-game road trip on Thursday as they travel to Lancaster to open a four-game series with the JetHawks. Mitchell Jordan (4-4, 4.65 ERA) makes the start for Stockton, opposed by Lancaster right-hander Garrett Schilling (2-2, 5.28 ERA). First pitch at The Hangar is set for 6:35 p.m. PDT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.