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Another division title Sounds great08/26/2007 10:54 PM ET
By Michael Blinn / Special to MLB.com
The Sounds can turn it down a notch now that they've wrapped up another Pacific Coast League playoff spot.
Mark DiFelice and Chris Spurling combined on a four-hitter Sunday as the Nashville Sounds clinched their third straight American North Division title with a 1-0 blanking of the Oklahoma RedHawks.
"We've limped in over the past couple of years," Sounds manger Frank Kremblas said. "It's nice to be in this early."
DiFelice scattered three hits and a walk over 6 2/3 innings, striking out six. He retired the first 12 batters before Nate Gold led off the fifth with a single.
"I was trying to get outs and get my team back up to hit," DiFelice said. "I wanted to put my team in a position to win the game."
The right-hander, who turned 31 on Thursday, is 3-1 with a 0.98 ERA in six home starts. It was the fifth time this season he has thrown at least five shutout innings.
"I was just trying to do the same things I've been doing all season," DiFelice said. "I like pitching here, it's a nice atmosphere. I love our mound. I went to school in North Carolina and I have friends that live in Tennessee that come and watch me play."
DiFelice also credited his teammates for playing strong defense behind him.
"This is the best team I've ever played on," he said. "We gel on and off the field. We do the little things well."
Spurling (2-0) pitched around a hit and fanned three over 2 1/3 frames. He struck out Gold to end the game and set off a celebration near the mound at Greer Stadium.
"We have a great bullpen and once I handed the ball over to Spurling, I knew it was over," DiFelice said.
Laynce Nix walked and scored on Callix Crabbe's sacrifice fly in the seventh to break the scoreless tie for Nashville (83-53), which is headed to the playoffs for the 12th time in franchise history.
"Everybody knew what the magic number was," Kremblas said. "You know you're going to win one more game. It was just a good ballgame."
Reliever Luther Hackman (1-3) gave up a run on a hit and a walk, retiring one of the four batters he faced. RedHawks starter Edinson Volquez yielded four hits and two walks with eight strikeouts over six scoreless innings. He lowered his ERA to 1.41 in eight PCL starts.
"[Volquez] was dealing, too," DiFelice said. "He was keeping us off-balance and throwing hard. I just wanted to match him."
Gold and Guillermo Quiroz had two hits apiece for Oklahoma (69-66), which fell one game behind first-place Albuquerque in the American South Division.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.