Nutter cruised along until the top of the seventh inning, allowing only four more hits and watching as his team backed him up nicely, including a notable diving catch in left field from Sweeney in the top of the third. Nutter would let up his sixth hit, a single to Dominic Cerrone, in the top of the seventh, then Corey McCollum drew a walk after two outs, before Nutter induced a pop-up to end the game.
All in all, Nutter recorded the shutout with the six hits, one walk and seven strikeouts.
“James stepped up today, he really pitched well,” Clippers coach Steve Malenfant said. “He pitched well in the preseason, but this really was his first opportunity to go quite a bit of time and we found another starting pitcher who is quality. He was steady throughout the game. He kept them off balance a little bit. And we got some key hits at key times. We hit just enough to put us in a position to win.”
“He kept us off balance,” Hornets coach Bob Garrett said of Nutter. “We hit the ball hard sometimes. Sometimes they caught it, sometimes they didn’t. He was mixing his pitches well and kept our bats pretty quiet. We just didn’t get that one hit. You always need that one hit.”
Looking to break .500, Malenfant knew he had to be wary of the Hornets.
“(Manchester Essex) came to play,” Malenfant said. “If you really check their games out, you can see that they hit the ball pretty darn well. They’ve lost some close games and they’ve had some high scores. They are a force to be reckoned with and we handled ourselves pretty darn well.”