Triple-A National Champion to be Crowned Tomorrow Night
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Tomorrow night at AutoZone Park, two clubs with winning pedigrees are set to face each other for the first time in the Triple-A National Championship Game, with first pitch slated for 7:00 p.m.
The Columbus Clippers (Indians) and the Sacramento River Cats (Giants) aim to become the first team to earn their third Triple-A title in tomorrow night's contest.
The Clippers (81-59) captured their record 11th Governors' Cup championship, their first since 2015, by besting the Durham Bulls (Rays) with a 3-0 series sweep. They earned a place in the final by defeating the Gwinnett Stripers (Braves) 3-1 in the opening round of the International League playoffs.
The Clippers were last crowned Triple-A champions in 2011, becoming repeat champions after winning the 2010 title as well. They last appeared in Triple-A National Championship Game in 2015, falling to the Fresno Grizzlies.
Right-hander Kyle Dowdy will get the start for the Clippers. The 26-year-old last worked in Game 4 against the Stripers, taking a no-decision (4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR) during the Columbus' 5-4 series-clinching victory. The Escondido, Calif., native also made his Major League debut on March 28 with the Texas Rangers.
The Clippers are managed by 36-year-old Tony Mansolino, who looks to end his first year as manager of the Clippers with a championship. He was promoted from Double-A Akron last season, where he led the Rubber Ducks to a 77-64 record and an appearance in the Easter League Championship Series.
The River Cats (73-67) won their first Pacific Coast League title since 2008 by sweeping the Round Rock Express (Astros) in three games. Their five PCL titles have matched the Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners) for the most PCL titles by active franchises. They began their playoff run with a 3-2 series victory over the Las Vegas Aviators (Athletics).
The River Cats are making their first national championship game appearance since 2008, where they became the first team to win back-to-back national championships after winning the 2007 edition of this game.
Left-hander Caleb Baragar will start the game on the mound for the River Cats. The 25-year-old earned the win in his last start (5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R/ER, 3 BB, 8 SO, 1 HR) in the River Cats' 7-3 Game 5 victory over the Aviators.
The River Cats' are managed by Dave Brundage, who is in his third season with the club and in his 22nd year of managing. Brundage will be managing in his second Triple-A National Championship game. He guided the Richmond Braves to a Governors' Cup title in 2007 before falling to Sacramento in the final. Brundage also managed the Memphis Chicks during their final year of existence in 1997.
The game will be televised live nationally on FS1 and available for live streaming on the FOX Sports app, as well as to MiLB.TV subscribers via MiLB.com and the MiLB First Pitch mobile app for supported devices.
Bringing the Triple-A National Championship Game action to the national television audience will be broadcasting legends George Grande and Jim Kaat, who combined have been a part of 12 Triple-A National Championship Game telecasts. Grande, the veteran MLB broadcaster who has served as the play-by-play voice of the New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, and Cincinnati Reds, will be in a familiar position working alongside Kaat, the former MLB All-Star pitcher and Emmy-award winning commentator. Grande and Kaat will be joined in the booth by MLB.com's Jim Callis, a familiar contributor on MLB Network and a veteran of several Triple-A All-Star Game and National Championship Game telecasts.
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