Mariners affiliate Modesto slugs way to Single-A crown

September 20th, 2023
Colt Emerson capped his first pro season with a four-hit, four-RBI game.Modesto Nuts

It's time to get Nuts!

Thanks to an unrelenting offense that averaged more than 10 runs per game in the playoffs, Single-A Modesto finished off a perfect postseason on Tuesday night with a championship-clinching 14-8 win over Rancho Cucamonga at LoanMart Field.

led the way with four hits and four RBIs to power the Nuts to their first California League title since 2017. Modesto collected 17 hits and scored in six different innings en route to the franchise's 10th league championship and second as a Seattle affiliate.

Buoyed by a 16-game winning streak in August, Modesto captured the Cal League North Division crown with a 43-26 record and finished 77-55 overall, the second-best mark on the circuit behind Fresno (78-54).

The club carried its second-half surge into the postseason, rallying for a 6-5 win in Game 1 of the semifinals before outscoring San Jose and Rancho Cucamonga, 36-14, over its final three games to claim the crown.

On Tuesday, the Nuts jumped out to a 6-1 lead highlighted by Emerson's two-run double in the fifth inning. The No. 4 Mariners prospect had an RBI groundout earlier in the game and established a career high with his four hits. Emerson hit safely in all four postseason games, going 11-for-20 (.550) with three doubles and eight RBIs.

That performance came on the heels of a professional debut in which the M's 2023 first-rounder slashed .374/.496/.549 in 24 games.

Modesto actually fell behind, 8-7, after Rancho Cucamonga scored five runs in the fifth to erase a six-run deficit. But the Nuts responded with three runs in the sixth on a bases-loaded triple by and never looked back. The fifth-ranked M's prospect had three hits while -- their No. 30 prospect -- homered and drove in two runs.

Shaddon Peavyhouse, Holden Laws and Natanael Garabitos slammed the door on the Quakes, tossing four scoreless innings in relief. The trio allowed one hit and a walk with three strikeouts, stifling the Dodgers affliate that scored eight runs on eight hits and three walks through the first five innings.

Modesto starter Michael Morales was charged with three runs -- one earned -- over four innings. The No. 20 Mariners prospect scattered four hits and a walk with five strikeouts.