MODESTO - Jimmy Cesario was 3-for-5 with five RBI and Ethan Hollingsworth matched a season high with 10 strikeouts and the Nuts put themselves into the playoffs with an 11-4 regular season finale win versus Inland Empire on Monday. The Nuts will host the Stockton Ports on Wednesday in the first game of the North Division playoffs at John Thurman Field.
Modesto (73-67, 36-34) closed its regular season with six straight wins and managed to reach the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. They will open the first round of the North Division playoffs on Wednesday night versus the Stockton Ports.
The three game series will start in Modesto and continue in Stockton on Thursday night. Modesto will send Rob Scahill to the mound in game one. The Ports are expected to have Shawn Haviland start in the series opener.
Modesto started September four games back of Visalia in the Wild Card race, but made up the difference by going 6-0 in September. The Rawhide lost their lead by finishing the season 1-5 and by losing three of four in San Jose.
Modesto's 11-4 win versus Inland Empire (50-90, 24-46) came with the help of a five RBI day from Cesario and a strong start from Hollingsworth (12-8).
Hollingsworth allowed a run in each of the first, second and third innings, but finished his outing with just one earned run over seven innings. He matched a season high with 10 strikeouts and set a season high with 10 hits allowed.
Inland Empire's Preston Mattingly put the 66ers up 2-0 with a solo home run in the second, but the Modesto answered back with four runs in the same inning.
Ben Paulsen started the second with a single to center and Joe Sanders continued it with a RBI triple. Sanders was then brought in as the tying run on a single to center from Cesario. The inning continued with a double from Scott Robinson and RBI groundouts from Dustin Garneau and David Christensen. Garneau's grounder scored Cesario from third, and Christensen's brought in Robinson from second.
Modesto led 4-3 going to their half of the third and went on to add four more runs to their lead. Cesario had a two RBI double, and Garneau launched a two-out, two-run home run in the third.
Garneau's home run was his first with Modesto and it gave the Nuts an 8-3 lead. He was 1-for-5 with three RBI in the game, and finished the series 7-for-17 with six RBI.
Cesario drove in five runs in the game, and was 3-for-5 with two runs scored. He has driven in five in a game twice this season. Paulsen was 3-for-5 with two runs and finished the season with a team high 48 multi-hit games.
The Nuts pounded out three doubles, a triple, a home run and 16 total hits in the game. They were 5-for-16 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base. The 66ers were 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left nine on as well.
The 66ers added a run in the seventh against Hollingsworth, but were held scoreless in the eighth and ninth by Kurt Yacko and Stephen Dodson.
Yacko allowed a leadoff hit in the eighth, but left the scoreless inning with two strikeouts. Dodson allowed one hit in the ninth, but managed to finish the game without a run.
Modesto batted .360 with five home runs and 34 runs during the series. Their six game winning streak fell one game shy of matching a season high for consecutive wins.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.