Chris Nyman knew Pasco would have enough pitching to win this season, but the senior left-hander wasn't sure if the Pirates could swing the bats the way they did last season.
Nyman made those concerns irrelevant Tuesday night.
Pasco tagged Ridgewood for seven singles in the first two innings, but the offense took a backseat as Nyman struck out 15 Rams in a three-hit shutout. Ridgewood went down swinging for the final six outs in Pasco's 9-0 victory.
Not that Nyman wasn't happy for the help.
"If we hit the ball like this, we'll be better than last year. We'll go a lot farther," said Nyman, who improved to 3-0 and gave Pasco, which lost in the first round of last season's playoffs, a head start in the conference standings. "It kind of felt like last year, the way we were hitting."
Nyman opened the game with a walk and hit Jon Koenigsfeld as he ran to first after a bunt to put runners on first and third. He struck out Monte Werner and Aaron McLamar, then got John Servidio to ground out to end the first.
His next six outs came on strikeouts, and Ridgewood couldn't muster a hit until Servidio singled to left in the fourth.
"Nyman threw one heck of a ballgame. He's a load, and he's a workhorse," Pasco coach Ricky Giles said. "He gets better as he goes, too. He hasn't really gotten his name out there yet, but he's solid."
With district games Monday and Thursday, Ridgewood (4-3) used its No. 3 pitcher, Erik Bua, who left in the second having allowed nine of 11 batters to reach base. Sonny Glover, Matt Smith and Matt Prowant singled to open the game for Pasco (6-1), and Nyman followed with a run-scoring fielder's choice and scored on a sacrifice fly by Juan Lopez.
The Rams gave up an unearned run in the second and three more in the third, with shortstop Jon Koenigsfeld committing three of the team's four errors. Kyle Hobbs broke the game open when he smashed a two-run home run to center in the fifth.
Ridgewood's bullpen held the Pirates to three hits in the final four innings, but the damage was done, led by a 3-for-4 night from Smith, who scored twice. Nyman, who struck out 17 in a no-hitter against Hudson last season, made a statement against a team that reached the state semifinals last spring.
"The kid pitched a good ballgame, and we haven't seen anybody like that all year from the left side," said Rams coach Larry Beets, whose team edged Pasco 1-0 two weeks ago. "We had him on the ropes a little in the first, and a pitcher like that, you have to get him in the first inning."