Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Reno draws all Aces for Triple-A title

Bauer shaky, but PCL champions' bats win day vs. PawSox
September 18, 2012

DURHAM, N.C. - A.J. Pollock said the Reno Aces had been hot and cold offensively for most of their championship season in the Pacific Coast League.

But in the Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game on a soggy Tuesday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, the Aces' bats sizzled.

A.J. Pollock tripled, doubled, scored twice and plated a run in the first two innings, leading Reno's 13-hit attack as the Aces blasted the Pawtucket Red Sox, 10-3.

"This is a great experience," said Pollock, who was named the game's most valuable player. "I've never played with a team that came together like that at the end of the year. To see every guy giving everything he had and every guy coming through was a pretty cool experience and something I'm not going to forget about.

"I just went out and did what everyone else was doing. It's hard to give an MVP when everyone goes out and performs like that. Everybody came through in a big game. This is what you work all year for. Hitting is contagious, and the whole team really just was on top of their game tonight."

The result gave Pacific Coast League teams a 4-3 lead in the series, which began in Oklahoma City in 2006.

Brent Clevlen and Keon Broxton each homered and singled for the Aces, while Tyler Bortnick chipped in a pair of doubles and a single.

"This is the first (ultimate) championship I've ever won," said Aces manager Brett Butler, who early in his career was a member of the 1980 Durham Bulls in the Carolina League. "I won a National League championship (in 1989), but never the whole enchilada.

"We had the top three guys in the league in hitting called up and a couple of our top pitchers, and the (D-backs) organization filled those spots and these guys stepped up. Our whole motto was 'Who's going to be the hero tonight?'"

Tony Thomas homered for Pawtucket, which finished with seven hits.

"We had a great run with these guys," Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler said. "They played hard every day. They worked hard every day. They played hard nine innings tonight after getting down early. We had some chances and it just didn't happen. [The Aces] deserve the credit. They played a better game than us tonight.

"It was a fun season. These guys played hard and deserved the championship that we earned. We deserved to play a little bit better game tonight, but we didn't. And those guys played better."

Mike DeMark was the winning pitcher. He didn't allow a hit, striking out three and walking one over 1 1/3 frames.

Reno was the designated home team, that honor earned because the PCL defeated the International League, 3-0, in the Triple-A All-Star Game on July 11 in Buffalo, N.Y.

The PawSox earned their spot in the game after their third Governors' Cup, albeit their first one since 1984.

Pawtucket, which has been Durham's worst tormentor during the Bulls' 15 seasons in the IL, has a 36-28 record in the park, including three postseason games.

Reno starter Trevor Bauer, Arizona's No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 Draft, just missed out on qualifying for the win. He allowed two runs on four hits and seven walks with six strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings.

Pawtucket's 38-year-old starter Nelson Figueroa had a rough outing. He was tagged for six runs on seven hits with three strikeouts over two innings for the loss.

"American Idol" winner and Garner, N.C., native Scotty McCreery tossed the ceremonial first pitch and sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch.

Mike Potter is a contributor to