Hector Ambriz, who had a fantastic ERA until he allowed 11 earned runs in his final regular season start, gave the Visalia Oaks their second stellar pitching performance in a row.
Anthony Cupps had tossed his first shutout of the season to clinch the division title for the Oaks on Labor Day and improve to 4-13 on the season.. They had been tied with these same Modesto Nuts entering play on Monday, but their win combined with a 5-4 Modesto loss propelled the Oaks to the North division title in their first year as an Arizona Diamondbacks affiliate.
Because they finished the second half one game ahead of the Nuts, these teams will play in Visalia Thursday and Friday (if necessary) in this best-of-three series.
There was no one offensive hero for the Oaks; four different players scored runs while three different ones drove in runners. John Hester and Cyle Hankerd did each collect two hits, and Frank Curreri hit a solo home run. Hester also reached a third time on an error by Modesto shortstop Christopher Nelson.
But the offense, for the most part, was overshadowed by the dominance of Hector Ambriz. The UCLA star who got drafted in the 5th round by the Diamondbacks last year struck out six Nuts in eight innings while allowing four hits, walking none, and hitting one batter.
Forrest Cory then walked two batters in the 9th before completing the shutout. Cory went 7-0 after the All-Star break.
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