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Season-opening win for Modesto Nuts
Cole Young
Cole Young, the Mariners’ first-round draft pick (21st overall), was 1-for-4 with a triple and three RBIs in his professional debut on Thursday (Photo contributed).

The Modesto Nuts waned out 13 hits and opened the 2023 California League season Thursday with a 10-5 victory over the Stockton Ports.

Cole Young, the Mariners’ first-round draft pick (21st overall) out of North Allegheny High School in Wexford, Pa., was 1-for-4 with a triple and three RBIs in his professional debut.

Catcher Freuddy Bautista was 3-for-4, including a two-run homer, while left-fielder Bill Knight and right-fielder Gabriel Gonzalez collected two hits apiece. Knight and first-baseman Gabe Moncada also had homers for the Nuts. Both of Gonzalez’s hits went for doubles.

Right-hander Riley Davis started for Modesto, giving up three hits, four walks, and just one earned run in four innings of work. Davis departed after throwing 77 pitches — 44 for strikes — and was relieved by Allan Saathoff, who picked up the victory in 1 2/3 innings.

Chris Jefferson, Natanael Garabitos and Troy Taylor chopped up the remaining 3 1/3 innings, each recording a pair of strikeouts during their stints.

Thursday’s win marked the fifth time the Nuts have won on opening day in the last six years dating back to 2017 (the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19).

The Nuts are the Low-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners and will be in the Cal League’s North Division with the Giants (SF), Ports (Oakland) and Fresno Grizzlies (Colorado). The South Division will be comprised of the Inland Empire 66ers (LAA), Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (LAD), Visalia Rawhide (Arizona) and the defending champion Lake Elsinore Storm (San Diego).

At press time Friday, the Nuts were leading the Ports 5-4 in the fifth inning — Young already had two hits — of the second game of their three-game set at Banner Island Ballpark. The Ports started 2022 American League All-Star Paul Blackburn, making a rehabilitation start. Blackburn gave up seven hits, one walk and three runs in 1 2/3 innings of work. He’s making his way back from a right middle fingernail avulsion.

Modesto makes its home opener on April 11 at 7:05 p.m. against the San Jose Giants on Ichiro Suzuki Bobblehead Night.