WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- For the first time since 2012, the Sacramento River Cats (70-66) are heading to the Pacific Coast League playoffs. On the back of first baseman Chris Shaw's career night at the plate, the River Cats eliminated the Reno Aces (64-72) with a 10-2 victory and clinched their first division title in seven years.
Shaw homered in each of his first three plate appearances on Thursday night, setting the tone early with a three-run bomb in the first inning off Aces starter Riley Smith. He would go on to clear the fence twice more - both two-run homers - en route to a 3-for-3, seven-RBI night that also included a hit-by-pitch.
After right-hander Chase Johnson allowed two runs in the first four innings, Sacramento's bullpen would shut things down with five scoreless, including a three-strikeout ninth from left-hander Williams Jerez to seal the clinching win. The River Cats will close out the 2019 regular season with a four-game set against the El Paso Chihuahuas beginning Friday evening.
Right-hander Burch Smith (7-4, 2.63) will get the start for Sacramento while El Paso will have rehabbing righty Jacob Nix (1-0, 0.00) on the mound. First pitch is set for 7:05 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.
• Shaw tied a franchise record with his three-homer night, which was the first of his pro career. The mark had been set 10 times in Sacramento's 20-year history, and three times this season (Mac Williamson, Jaylin Davis). And with his seven runs batted in, Shaw fell one short of tying the 15-year old franchise record for RBI in a single game. That mark was last set in 2004 by Dan Johnson, and originally in 2002 by Cody McKay.
• Outfielder Mike Gerber's two doubles brought his season total to 41, tying him for the franchise record for two-baggers in a single season with Mike Edwards (2004).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.