Avelino provides walk-off as River Cats take Game 1

Pena's two-run blast sparks River Cats comeback

Photo: Ralph Thompson / River Cats (Ralph Thompson)

By Sacramento River Cats | September 11, 2019 1:37 AM

West Sacramento, CA. - The Sacramento River Cats (1-0) played a roller coaster ballgame in game one of the PCL Championship Series, with shortstop Abiatal Avelino giving them an 8-7 walk-off win over the Round Rock Express (0-1).

It was a wild opening game to this Championship Series, as the lead changed hands seven different times at Raley Field on Tuesday night. Designated hitter Francisco Peña led the offense, going 4-for-4 with three RBI, while outfielder Jacob Heyward picked up a double, a single, and knocked in two runs.

Round Rock would get to the River Cats bullpen in the middle innings, as righties Ricardo Pinto and Sam Wolff combined to allow three runs, giving the Express a 6-5 lead in the eighth. With one on and one away in the eighth, however, Pena would deliver a clutch two-run shot down the left field line to give Sacramento a 7-6 lead.

The stage was set for a Sacramento walk-off after lefty Steven Okert surrendered a solo blast in the ninth to tie the game at seven. Then, with two outs and catcher Ronnie Freeman at second, Abiatal Avelino would deliver the victorious hit, doubling home Freeman to give the River Cats with a huge game one win.

Sacramento will look to take a commanding two games to none lead with right-hander Chase Johnson (1-2, 7.65) getting the ball on Wednesday night. Round Rock will turn to righty Brandon Bielak (8-4, 4.41). First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. (PT). Listen to all of the action live online at rivercats.com, on the MiLB First Pitch app, and on Money 105.5 FM.

Additional Notes

  • The River Cats have walked off eight times this season, and Abiatal Avelino has accounted for three off those wins. The shortstop walked off Fresno in a 7-6 win on May 10, Nashville in a 3-2 win on August 11, and then again tonight.
  • Francisco Peña finished a perfect 4-for-4, including a home run, two runs scored, and three runs batted in. He is hitting .533 (8-for-15) so far this postseason.

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The Sacramento River Cats are the Triple-A affiliate of the three-time World Champion -San Francisco Giants. The team plays at Raley Field in West Sacramento, consistently voted one of the top ballparks in America. Season Tickets, Mini-Plans, and Flex Plans can be purchased for the River Cats' 20th season by calling the River Cats Ticket Hotline at (916) 371-HITS (4487). The only place to guarantee official River Cats tickets is at www.rivercats.com. For information on other events at Raley Field, visit www.raleyfield.com.

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

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