Cowan's homer puts Nuts in control

Three-run blast in 11th sends Modesto home with 2-0 Finals lead

Jordan Cowan, a 2013 37th-round Draft pick, batted .271 with 20 doubles and 18 stolen bases during the season. (Ben Sandstrom/

By Josh Jackson / | September 14, 2017 2:52 AM ET

LANCASTER, California -- In one moment on Wednesday night, Jordan Cowan was an 0-for-5 leadoff man. The next, he was the hero.

"It's crazy how this game can go like that," the Mariners prospect said. "You can go 1-for-1 in your first AB and then 0-for-5 in the next ones and you're like, 'Man, I had a bad game.' But something happens like that tonight, it turns your confidence around."

Cowan belted a three-run homer in the 11th inning to boost Modesto to an 8-5 win over Lancaster at the Hangar and a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 California League Championship Series.

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Eric Filia went 3-for-6 with two homers and three RBIs for the Nuts, who can wrap up their first title since 2004 with a win at home on Friday.

"That's a great baseball team over there," Cowan said. "Their pitching staff is unbelievable. They just play at a place where the ball can carry. And they're a great hitting team. Getting up, 2-0, against these guys is huge, but you've still got to win one more."

The 22-year-old infielder had two dingers in 121 regular-season games but has matched that total in five playoff contests. His go-ahead blast came on the first offering he saw from Marc Magliaro and cleared the wall in right-center field over the 385-foot sign.

"Going into that at-bat, I've had a couple, I wouldn't say rough at-bats but just missing balls," the left-handed hitter said. "My teammates are picking me up in the dugout. They're telling me, 'Stay positive. Your time's coming.' I wasn't planning on hitting a home run like that. That makes it more exciting, but I was just trying to get a pitch middle of the plate and put a good swing on it, and it happened to go out.

"I never know if the ball's ever getting out, but I definitely hit it well. I was just hoping it at least got over [the outfielders' heads] because in that situation, that's all you're trying to do. For it to go over [the wall] like it did, it's huge. That's a great feeling."

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Like Cowan, Filia has found his power in the postseason. He's gone yard three times in five games after totaling five homers in 128 regular-season games. The 25-year-old right fielder has been inspired by his twins, Luca and Gianni, born to fiance M.J. on Aug. 14.

"After my kids were born, it's an incredible feeling. I feel like I'm not playing for myself, I'm playing for them," he said. "It's tremendous what the guys have done this whole entire season and it's given me the confidence to stick with my process. This little power surge, I'm just trying to barrel up balls and give our team a chance to win."

Filia also made a catch on a ball off the bat of Roberto Ramos that ended a nightmarish ninth for Modesto. Matthew Festa was charged with three runs on four hits in the inning, but he worked out of a jam without giving up the run that would have tied the series.

"'Fest,' he's been lights-out for us all year. Hey, it happens. It's baseball," Filia said. "What he did was tremendous, having bases loaded with no outs and getting three outs like that. That was a phenomenal job and it kind of gave us a little momentum."

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Top Mariners prospect Kyle Lewis was 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored in his fourth straight multi-hit game for the Nuts.

Joe Pistorese (1-0) allowed a hit and a walk and fanned one in a scoreless 10th for the win and Bryan Bonnell pitched a 1-2-3 11th for the save, fanning top Rockies prospect Brendan Rodgers to end the game.

Rockies No. 8 prospect Garrett Hampson homered and walked on a 2-for-5 night for the JetHawks.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @JoshJacksonMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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