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RedHawks romp into PCL Finals09/07/2008 7:29 PM ET
By Steve Conley / Special to MLB.com
The Oklahoma RedHawks didn't have a hit through the first three innings of Sunday's do-or-die playoff game against the Iowa Cubs. Travis Metcalf reversed their fortunes with one swing.
Metcalf hit two of Oklahoma's six homers, including a grand slam, and drove in six runs as the RedHawks rolled to a 16-5 win over the Cubs in the decisive fifth game of their Pacific Coast League semifinal series.
Oklahoma advanced to the PCL Finals for the first time since 1999 and will take on the defending champion Sacramento River Cats, winners of three of the last five league titles.
"We're all feeling good right now. There's champagne in the locker room and everyone's enjoying this," Metcalf said. "No one was ready to go home. We wanted to win this."
Held hitless by Iowa starter Randy Wells, Oklahoma trailed, 1-0, heading to the fourth. Wells plunked Ryan Roberts to start the inning and issued a pair of two-out walks before Metcalf deposited a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left field to begin the onslaught.
"It was big for us from a momentum standpoint," Metcalf said. "[Wells] throws a good slider and changeup, and we connected on balls the first few innings but didn't get any hits. That [slam] relaxed us and gave everyone a chance to rally."
Metcalf's blasted ignited the RedHawks, who homered at least once in each of the final five innings. Ryan Roberts hit a solo shot in the fifth, Jason Ellison whacked a three-run blast in the sixth and John Mayberry hit a two-run jack in the seventh. Metcalf added a two-run homer in the eighth before Ben Harrison joined the parade with a solo shot blast two batters later.
Mayberry and Ellison combined to go 6-for-8 with two homers, five RBIs and seven runs scored.
Oklahoma dropped two of the first three contests and fell behind, 3-0, in Game 4 before rallying 9-6 behind Max Ramirez's grand slam.
"It all boils down to the great clique of guys we have here," said Metcalf. "We get along and we want to win. Our pitching did great and the relievers shut people down. The offense had some clutch at-bats and knocked in runs when we needed to."
The RedHawks will have their hands full with Sacramento, which took three of four games in early May in the only regular-season series between the teams. The River Cats hit 16 homers in eliminating the Salt Lake Bees in four games.
"We have a really good attitude going into that series," Metcalf said. "Coming back after being down gave us a little momentum, but we're gonna have to go keep doing it with pitching and clutch hitting."
RedHawks starter Tommy Hunter (1-1) allowed one run on six hits while striking out three and walking two over six innings.
Wells (1-1) was charged with five runs on three hits and three walks with five strikeouts over five innings.
Andres Torres homered twice and drove in four runs for Iowa, which got a pair of doubles from Sam Fuld. The Cubs were trying to advance to the Championship Series for the first time since 2004.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.