SAN BERNARDINO — The Modesto Nuts sought positive reinforcement after two tough one-run losses to open the California League season.
They received their first positive jolt of energy Saturday night from Ben Alsup.
The 6-foot-3 right-handed pitcher shut down the Inland Empire 66ers, blanking them on three hits and nine strikeouts through seven innings during Modesto's 5-1 victory.
Alsup, a former LSU standout from Ruston, La., strung the third straight solid performance from Modesto starters.
The Nuts took a 1-0 lead with an unearned run driven in by Tyler Massey's sacrifice fly. Inland Empire starter Austin Wood, who was stubborn early, yielded two runs in the fifth on Jordan Ribera's 2-run double off the right field wall. Ribera finished with three RBIs.
Inland Empire avoided a shutout on Ryan Jones' leadoff homer in the ninth off Geoff Parker.
The Nuts will finish the four-game Inland Empire series this afternoon before they travel for three games at Rancho Cucamonga. They will entertain defending league champion Lancaster for their home opener Thursday night.