Reno got seven strong innings from D-backs' No. 12 prospect Charles Brewer and beat Tucson, 7-2, to capture another Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division crown.
Brewer (11-7) held the Padres to a run on four hits and struck out three without walking a batter. Wladimir Sutil handled the offense with two hits and four RBIs. The win was the Aces' 78th, one shy of the 2009 club record.
"With three games left, we'd like to get two more to get us to 80, and I think there would be a satisfaction there," said Aces manager Brett Butler, a former All-Star outfielder. "But you always stay hungry, never be content, I try to tell them."
Butler said he was impressed with the resilience his team has shown. The Aces were 5-9 in the two weeks leading up to Thursday but pulled it together to win their last two games and shut the door on second-place Colorado Springs.
"The perseverance on this team [stood out]," he said. "The team was so solid and deep and played extremely well, solid pitching, especially the bullpen. And like any Triple-A club, you [lose] some key players. We went through a struggle the last couple of weeks but never quit. They kept battling back, and it's the perseverance."
Reno leads the PCL with 838 runs, with PCL MVP Adam Eaton and Jake Elmore setting the table at the top of the lineup. Referred to by Butler as the "E-train," Eaton and Elmore are hitting .379 and .344 respectively.
Mike Jacobs tops the team with 18 homers and D-backs' No. 15 prospect Ryan Wheeler leads the way with 90 RBIs.
On the mound, Barry Enright (12-7), Joe Martinez (10-11) and Brewer have all recorded double-digit wins. Top Arizona prospect Trevor Bauer is 5-1 with a 2.85 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 82 innings. Closer Jonathan Albaladejo has 25 saves and a 3.72 ERA in 48 appearances.
Akron 8, Richmond 1
Ryan Rohlinger went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs and Toru Murata struck out eight over six shutout innings to help the Aeros wrap up the Western Division crown.
Akron secured no worse than a tie with second-place Bowie and owns the tiebreaker, thanks to a 13-6 record against the Baysox this season. Box score
Chattanooga 6, Birmingham 5
Duke von Schamann (1-0) allowed a run on three hits over five innings in his Double-A debut to pitch the Lookouts to the North Division second-half title.
Nick Buss went 3-for-5 with two doubles, three RBIs and a run scored, while Joe Becker was 3-for-3 with a walk and a pair of runs scored for Chattanooga. C.J. Retherford and Brahiam Maldonado drove in the other runs. Read more
Modesto 3, San Jose 1
The Nuts finished off the second-place Giants, thanks to Josh Mueller, who overcame five walks and gave up a run on two hits over five innings. Modesto claimed the North Division second-half title and home-field advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.
Timothy Smalling doubled in a run and Jayson Langfels and Dallas Tarleton had the Nuts' other RBIs. Box score
South Atlantic League League
Rome 4, Lexington 2
The Braves won the second game of a doubleheader to take home the South Division second-half championship.
William Beckwith homered and drove in three runs, while David Peterson struck out four over three innings of one-hit relief for Rome, which swept the twinbill. Box score
Hagerstown 4, Asheville 3
The North Division second-half crown was claimed by the Suns as Cutter Dykstra plated Bryce Ortega with an infield hit to cap a two-run seventh inning. Blake Schwartz yielded a run on five hits while striking out seven over six innings but did not factor in the decision for Hagerstown. Justin Miller went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the winning effort. Box score