Sacramento Heading To Finals
For the second consecutive season, the Sacramento River Cats defeated the Salt Lake Bees on their way to the Pacific Coast League finals. Now the River Cats are hoping that their 2008 trip to the finals ends in a championship just as it did in 2007.
After dropping Game One against the Bees, Sacramento swept the next three games to move onto the finals. The River Cats' offense was on fire throughout the series. In four games, the River Cats scored 39 runs and hit 16 homeruns. The River Cats set a franchise record for number of homeruns in a single post-season, breaking last year's record of 15, which came in eight playoff games. Sacramento also had back-to-back five-homerun games (in Games Two and Three) for the first time in franchise history.
On the mound, the depleted River Cats' pitching staff – after allowing 13 runs in Game One – was impressive against a good hitting Bees' squad. The River Cats allowed three runs in Games Two and Four and four runs in Game Three.
Vince Mazzaro put together one of his best outings since being promoted to Triple-A. The 21-year-old was the winner in the Game Four clincher, allowing two runs on five hits in seven innings. He struck-out six and walked four. Mazzaro out-dueled top Angels' prospect Nick Adenhart, who was touched up seven runs (five earned) and three homers in 5.2 innings.
Chris Denorfia, Donnie Murphy, Brooks Conrad and Jeff Baisley were the offensive heroes for Sacramento in the series. Denorfia hit .579 with two doubles, three homers and four RBIs and Conrad hit .333 with three homers. Murphy hit .462 with four homers and drove-in nine, while Baisley hit .500 with two homers, two doubles and six RBIs. Casey Rogowski also chipped in with a .375 average with a homer, while Travis Buck, Carlos Gonzalez and Justin Knoedler all homered during the series.
Sacramento will take on the winner of the Oklahoma-Iowa series in the finals. That series is tied at two games a piece and will be decided on Sunday.
Stockton Wins Clincher Against Modesto, But Drops Game One Versus San Jose
The Stockton Ports used the momentum they gained from their big comeback win over Modesto on Thursday to cruise to a 12-3 win in the winner-takes-all game on Friday. They were stopped late against San Jose in Game One of the best-of-five North Division Championship Series on Saturday, however.
On Friday, Stockton used three RBIs from Chris Carter and a two-run homer by Corey Brown to pace a 12-run, 17-hit attack. Carter had eight RBIs and Brown had five in the three-game set versus Modesto. Josh Horton hit .545 during the series, while Carter (.455), Matt Spencer (.429), Brown (.364) and Jermaine Mitchell (.333) all topped .300 averages.
Stockton looked poised to take a 1-0 lead against the San Jose Giants in the North Division Championship on Saturday, but the Giants scored four in the bottom of the eighth to win the opener, 5-3. Scott Moore (one run in five innings) and Sam Demel (no runs and five strike-outs in two innings) combined to quiet the Giants for the first seven innings. However, Patrick Currin allowed four runs on four hits in the eighth and was hung with the loss.
The Ports had eight hits against Tim Alderson and the Giants' bullpen. Josh Donaldson and Spencer each homered, and Archie Gilbert and Frank Martinez each added two hits. Stockton takes on San Jose again on Sunday.
Kane County's Season Ends Quietly
The Kane County Cougars' season ended on Friday when they dropped Game Two of their best-of-three series against the Burlington Bees, 9-6. Kane County went down 3-0 in the third and never regained the lead.
Scott Hodsdon allowed five runs (three earned) in 3.2 innings. He and the Cougars' pitching staff were betrayed by their defense, which committed four errors on Friday. On offense, Adam Klein had a big series, hitting .625 with two RBIs. Justin Frash hit .500 and Jason Christian batted .375.
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