Lakewood Wins First Franchise Championship

The Lakewood BlueClaws had Matt Maloney on the mound Friday night, giving them plenty of reason to believe they would win the SAL Championship. It all played out perfectly as Maloney and the 'Claws coasted.

Matt Maloney saved the best for last. The left-hander scattered seven hits and two walks, striking out 12 and collecting his first complete game of the season for Lakewood as the BlueClaws beat Augusta 5-0 to win the South Atlantic League Championship.

Maloney was again masterful and finished the post-season 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA. It looks like Maloney enjoys pitching in big games. He struck out 11 hitters in the 'Claws win over Lexington that sent them to the SAL Championship Series. On Friday, Maloney was giving the credit to his catcher, Lou Marson. "He [Marson] called a great game. We've worked well all along and he always seems to know what I want to throw," said Maloney.

Mike Spidale and Jeremy Slayden led the Lakewood offense, both collecting three hits in the game. Spidale drove in a run, scored two and stole a base, while Slayden drove in two runs and scored another.

Avelino Asprilla used a stolen base to help get the BlueClaws on the board first. After drawing a one out walk in the bottom of the first, Asprilla stole second and then scored on Spidale's double, his first hit of the night. Slayden quickly followed with an RBI single as Lakewood took a 2-0 lead.

With Maloney breezing, the score stayed at 2-0 until Lakewood added some insurance in the bottom of the fifth. Again, it was a walk from Augusta pitcher Ryan Shaver that got things started. With one out, Matt Thayer walked, but was erased at second on a ground ball by Asprilla. Spidale singled to right to put runners on the corners and Slayden delivered another RBI single to give Lakewood a 3-0 edge. Brian Millikan came on to replace Shaver and Clay Harris greeted him with a single up the middle, scoring Spidale and making it a 4-0 game. Two wild pitches gave Lakewood their final run of the night, before Millikan got the final out of the inning.

Maloney started the game by giving up a single to Johany Abreu, but he was erased on a groundball double-play. Augusta didn't pick up another hit until Eugenio Velez led off the fourth with a double. Both of the walks that Maloney issued came in the third inning. He also uncorked a wild pitch in the inning, but got Brian Bocock to line out back to Maloney to end the threat.

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