Chihuahuas Claim PCL Title

El Paso wins the PCL Championship Series, 3-1, to win its first league title

(CODY ROPER)

By Oklahoma City Dodgers | September 17, 2016 10:20 PM

Oklahoma City - The El Paso Chihuahuas scored the go-ahead run in the 11th inning and hung on for a 4-3 victory against the Oklahoma City Dodgers in Game 4 of the PCL Championship Series Saturday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark to win their first PCL title.

El Paso won the best-of-five series, 3-1, bringing the Dodgers' season to a close in front of a crowd of 5,581.

The Dodgers tied the game, 3-3, in the seventh inning when Alex Verdugo hit into a fielder's choice to score the tying run.

Over the next three innings, Oklahoma City had several chances to take the lead or win the game. Will Venable led off the eighth inning with a single and went to second base after a sacrifice bunt by Alex Hassan. Jack Murphy then flied out to deep center field to advance Venable to third base, but pinch hitter Willie Calhoun grounded out to end the inning.

The Dodgers put the potential winning run on base in the bottom of the ninth inning when Kyle Farmer and Alex Verdugo hit back-to-back singles with two outs, but Chris Taylor struck out to end the threat and send the game to extra innings.

After Dodgers pitcher Sam LeCure retired the Chihuahuas in order in the top of the 10th inning, the Dodgers moved the potential winning run to third base in the bottom of the frame. Venable led off with a walk and advanced to second base on another sacrifice bunt by Hassan. After El Paso pitcher Kyle McGrath intentionally walked Murphy, Venable tagged and advanced to third base on a fly out by Drew Maggi. Micah Johnson came up to bat next and struck out to end the inning.

The Chihuahuas scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th inning. Patrick Kivlehan led off with a single and Diego Goris followed with a sacrifice bunt. Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger fielded the ball, but his throw toward first base went into right field, allowing Kivlehan to advance to third base.

Jose Rondon came up next, and a bizarre play ensued to score the deciding run. Rondon popped up a bunt, and Dodgers pitcher Lisalverto Bonilla dove to try to field the ball. But when Bonilla hit the ground, his glove kicked the ball up over catcher Jack Murphy and toward the backstop, allowing Kivlehan to score.

The Dodgers had a good chance to tie the game in the bottom of the 11th inning, before Phil Maton closed the game for El Paso. Brandon Hicks doubled with one out. Verdugo came up next and sent a deep fly ball to center field that was caught on the warning track, sending Hicks to third. On the first pitch, Taylor grounded out the third base, ending the ballgame.

Maton picked up his third save of the postseason.

The Dodgers outhit the Chihuahuas, 14-9, in the game and left 14 runners on base. OKC went 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position. They did not have a hit with a runner in scoring position after the first inning and went 0 for their last 13.

After a 41-minute delay to start the game due to rain, the Dodgers took the first lead of the night.

Johnson led off with a double for the Dodgers on a line drive to right field in the first inning and advanced to third base on a single by Bellinger. A one-out RBI double by Verdugo brought home Johnson for a 1-0 Dodgers lead.

Austin Hedges hit a one-out single in the fourth inning, then scored when Kivlehan lined a RBI double to right-center field to tie the game, 1-1.

A two-run single by Hunter Renfroe gave the Chihuahuas a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning.

The Dodgers answered in the bottom of the inning when Venable hit a solo homer out to right-center field to cut El Paso's lead to one run. Venable finished the night 3-for-4 with a RBI and run scored.

With one out in the seventh inning, Bellinger and Kyle Farmer hit back-to-back singles. Then with runners at the corners, Verdugo hit into a fielder's choice to score Bellinger and tie the game, 3-3.

Bonilla (0-1) was charged with the loss, allowing one run and three hits with one strikeout in the 11th inning.

Pitcher Derek Eitel (2-0) got the win for El Paso.

Oklahoma City made its third appearance in the PCL Championships Series since joining the league in 1998, and first since 2008.

The Dodgers went 4-5 in the playoffs after finished the regular season with an 81-60 record.

Oklahoma City won back-to-back American Northern Division titles and won the American Conference Finals against the Nashville Sounds for their first conference title since 2008 to advance to the PCL Championship Series against the Chihuahuas.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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