Four Teams Left Battling For Triple-A Title
As we get closer to next week's Triple-A National Championship, here's a look at how the Triple-A playoffs shape up.
Pacific Coast League
The Pacific Coast League finals kick off tonight with a dream pitching matchup as prospects Jake Odorizzi (Omaha) will square off against righthander Trevor Bauer (Reno). Omaha and Reno both edged out their respective first-round opponents 3-2 in the best-of-five series.
Omaha edged Albuquerque in a spirited five-game series with all kinds of twists and turns. Minor League Player of the Year Wil Myers hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning of the opener to propel the Storm Chasers to an 8-4 victory, with Odorizzi striking out seven over seven solid innings to earn the victory. Albuquerque won 5-3 in Game Two before Nathan Adcock led Omaha to a 7-4 win in Game Three. He pitched into the seventh inning while Mitch Maier and Anthony Seratelli each hit home runs.
Albuquerque stayed alive with a 12-10 Game Four victory, rallying from a 10-3 deficit. Elian Herrera tripled twice in the bottom of the seventh, as Albuquerque put together a nine-run frame. Tony Gwynn Jr. hit the go-ahead three-run home run off of reliever Brandon Sisk. Omaha responded early and often following the Game Four debacle, as the Storm Chasers scored at least one run in eight of nine innings to take the decisive Game Five by a score of 16-7. Maier (5-for-5) and Myers (3-for-5) both hit two-run home runs as Omaha jumped out to a 10-lead after four innings. Albuquerque rallied for four runs in the bottom of the fifth, but Omaha lefthander Donnie Joseph got seven of his eight outs via strikeout to preclude another late-inning collapse.
Reno was able to survive and advance in a hard-fought series against the Sacramento River Cats, with a pair of low-scoring games that started the series. In Game One, Trevor Bauer picked up the win by striking out six, walking five, and surrendering three hits and one unearned run in five innings. Sacramento's Bruce Billings struck out 10 and walked just one in six innings, but was the victim of some shoddy defense as he surrendered two unearned runs. Tyler Bortnick's solo home run in the ninth gave Reno some breathing room, and the Aces held on for a 3-1 win.
Game Two of the series was also a low-scoring affair, as a solo home run from Sacramento's Jemile Weeks provided the only offensive fireworks of the contest. Sacramento starter Jesse Chavez stuck out 10 in eight scoreless innings and Jeremy Accardo recorded the save.
Game Three was a more typical PCL showdown, as the two teams combined for 18 runs and 25 hits. Reno scored four in the bottom of the eighth to win 11-7, with Tyler Kuhn going 6-for-6 with a two-run single in the game-winning really. Sacramento stayed alive with a 10th-inning homer by Daric Barton leading to a 4-3 victory, but 2011 first-round pick Sonny Gray couldn't hold an early 3-0 lead in the series finale. Reno's Mike Jacobs hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to break a 3-3 tie and propel Reno to a 7-4 victory.
Pawtucket and Charlotte will meet in Game One of the International League Finals tonight in Pawtucket after both clubs won their respective five-game-series 3-1. Tonight's probable starters are knuckleballing righthander Steven Wright (Pawtucket) and lefthander Charles Leesman (Charlotte).
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's amazing season—one in which the club won the North Division despite playing its games at six different locations, none of them Moosic, Pa.—came to an abrupt end against the PawSox. Bryce Brentz hit two of Pawtucket's six home runs in the series, and he had a pair of RBIs and scored the winning run in Game Two. Melky Mesa gave Scranton its lone victory with a two-run walk-off homer to win Game Three off Pedro Beato, but the PawSox won the series behind an eight-inning, one-run, two-hitter by 38-year-old righty Nelson Figueroa in the 7-1 clincher.
South Division champ Charlotte also cruised in its series win against West Division champ Indianapolis. The Knights scored 17 of the first 18 runs of the series, winning Game One 8-1 behind Leesman, then taking a 9-0 lead in Game Two off Gerrit Cole before holding on for a 14-13 victory. Cole gave up nine hits and eight earned runs in two innings of work.
Righthander Phil Irwin kept Indianapolis alive with 11 strikeouts in seven scoreless innings of Game Three, a 7-0 Indy win. But Charlotte ended the series with a 6-4 victory, with the Indians leaving the bases full in the ninth to end the series.
The PCL and IL champs face off in the Triple-A National Championship, a one-game, winner-take-all contest to be played in Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Tuesday, September 18. The game is scheduled to be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network at 7 P.M.