Tag Archives: Francisco Pena

Sacramento River Cats finish 2019 season as Triple-A National Champions

Sacramento becomes the first team to win Triple-A Championship three times

Memphis, TN — The Sacramento River Cats are the Triple-A National Champions after shutting out the International League Champion Columbus Clippers by a score of 4-0 on Tuesday night at AutoZone Park in Memphis, TN. Behind a stellar outing from left-hander, and eventual Most Valuable Player Caleb Baragar, the River Cats became the first franchise to take home their third Triple-A National Championship.

Baragar was nothing short of magnificent for a second straight time this postseason, compiling a combined 2-0 record with a 0.90 ERA in 10 innings, and dominating the Clippers’ offense over his five frames on Tuesday night. Baragar gave up just two hits while fanning five batters to earn MVP honors.

The River Cats jumped on the Clippers early, knocking out Columbus starter Kyle Dowdy in the first inning and tagging the right-hander for three runs. Francisco Peña delivered an RBI-groundout, then a couple batters later Jacob Heyward delivered a two-RBI single to right field. 

Peter Maris would add a solo blast in the sixth inning to expand the lead to four. The swing of the bat was his second home run of this postseason. Levi Michael and Abiatal Avelino would finish the night with three hits apiece to pace the Sacramento offense from the top of the order.

The Sacramento bullpen was nearly perfect on their way to the first shutout of the playoffs from the River Cats. Right-hander Ricardo Pinto delivered two perfect innings while striking out four. Flamethrowing righty Melvin Adon contributed a scoreless inning, allowing one hit to start the ninth. Then lefty Steven Okert would come on to induce a double play and strikeout the final batter to clinch the Championship for the River Cats.

The Sacramento River Cats finished off their 2019 regular season with a 73-67 record – the first winning record since becoming a San Francisco Giants’ affiliate in 2015. The club won their first Pacific Northern division title since 2012, and became the first Giants Triple-A club to win their division since 1998. The River Cats went on defeat to defeat the Las Vegas Aviators in five games, then the Round Rock Express in a sweep to claim their first Pacific Coast League crown since 2008. In a year in which 85 players appeared Sacramento, the River Cats 20th season came to an end on September 17 with a Triple-A National Championship.

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Avelino provides walk-off as Sacramento River Cats take Game 1

Pena’s two-run blast sparks River Cats comeback

SUMMERLIN, Nev. — 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.

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Sacramento River Cats Drop Playoff Series Opener To Aviators

Outfielder Mike Gerber goes 3-for-4 with two RBI in 9-3 defeat

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento River Cats (0-1) opened up the 2019 Pacific Conference playoffs on Wednesday, dropping game one to the Las Vegas Aviators (1-0) 9-3 despite matching hit totals with the visiting Athletics affiliate.

The River Cat tallied eight hits on the evening, but struggled with runners in scoring position, finishing just 2-for-9. Mike Gerber drove in runs in the first and third, accounting for two of his three hits on the night. Catcher Francisco Peña picked up a pair of hits, including a double, but Sacramento stranded 10 baserunners as a team on Wednesday.

Right-hander Ryan Halstead got the start in what was just his second Triple-A appearance of the season and his first since August 3 against Round Rock. Halstead got through the first two innings with the score knotted at one, but Las Vegas dropped a five-spot in the third to take the lead for good at 6-1. Flame-thrower Melvin Adon and lefty Sam Selman combined to toss two perfect innings of relief in the loss.

The River Cats look to even the series tomorrow night with righty Chase Johnson (1-2, 7.64) taking the hill for game two. Las Vegas will counter with right-hander Parker Dunshee (4-5, 5.38). 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.

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Three-Run Fourth Propels Sacramento River Cats Past Redbirds

McCarthy, Avelino collect two hits in 5-2 victory

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento River Cats (63-53) used a big three-run fourth inning to take control of the ballgame, going on to beat the visiting Memphis Redbirds (51-65) by a final of 5-2.

Enderson Franco was rolling through three innings before taking a 106-mile per hour line drive off the leg in the fourth inning. The right-hander fought through the pain and finished the inning, but would not come back out for the fifth. Lefty Steven Okert came on to work a one-two-three fifth inning and would go on to earn his team-leading seventh win, while submariner Tyler Rogers worked the final 1.2 innings to pick up his fifth save on the season.  

The River Cats wasted little time taking the lead on Thursday and would not surrender it once they did – Francisco Pena blasted a 426-ft. solo shot in the second frame. Sacramento would expand their lead in the fourth when Joe McCarthy and Levi Michael clubbed back-to-back doubles, plating a combined three runs.

The River Cats will go for the three-game sweep of Memphis with righty Yoanys Quiala (6-7, 6.43) getting the nod. The Redbirds will counter with righty Daniel Pounce de Leon (4-4, 3.90) 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.

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Sacramento River Cats Explode In Extras To Down Grizzlies

Pena, Rickard both homer in four-run 10th inning

Fresno, CA. — The Sacramento River Cats (55-47) hang on in an extra-inning thriller against Fresno Grizzlies (52-50), winning 8-6 after exploding for four runs in the 10th inning.    

Sacramento got off to a hot start Tuesday, plating four runs in the first three innings. Mike Gerber blasted a first inning two-run homer, his 21st, just inside the left field foul pole, and the River Cats got a run in both the second and third innings on a fielder’s choice and RBI-groundout, respectively. The River Cats led 4-2 after three, but the offense was held in check over the next six frames. 

While Fresno was able to claw back to tie the game with two outs in the ninth, Sacramento came right back in the 10th, exploding for four runs on five hits to take an 8-4 lead. Henry Ramos plated the first run with an RBI-double, Francisco Pena came on as pinch hitter to smash a solo home run, and then Joey Rickard capped off the inning with a two-run jack two batters later.

The bottom of the 10th was not without drama of its own, however. The Grizzlies struck for two runs against lefty Steven Okert before Ray Black came on to slam the door, earning his first save of the season and pushing the River Cats’ division lead to three games. 

The River Cats will be back at it against the Grizzlies tomorrow night, looking for their fifth straight road win. Right-hander Yoanys Quiala (5-5, 6.52) takes the ball for Sacramento on Wednesday night, while Fresno will go with lefty Ben Braymer (0-2, 9.43). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. (PT). Catch all of the action live online at rivercats.com, on the MiLB First Pitch app, on Money 105.5 FM (PT).

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Sacramento River Cats Defeat Salt Lake Bees 8-5

Peña, Michael and Gerber all go yard in 8-5 victory

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The Sacramento River Cats (51-46) leaned on a trio of home runs and some new faces out of the bullpen to defeat the Salt Lake Bees (41-56) 8-5 and secure a series victory in Salt Lake City.

River Cats starter Yoanys Quiala turned in a solid performance Wednesday night to pick up his team leading fifth win of the season. The right-hander tossed six innings and allowed four earned runs on eight hits while fanning seven batters. Lefty Travis Bergen, who rejoined the club today on a Major League rehab assignment, and recently added right-hander Sam Wolff worked final three innings, scattering four hits and allowing just an unearned run while striking out four batters. Wolff picked up his first Triple-A save in his River Cats debut. 

Three homers did much of the heavy lifting for the River Cats’ offense on Wednesday night. The first came in the second inning when Francisco Peña smacked his eighth homer of the year. Then in the seventh, with the game knotted up at four, the River Cats struck again with a solo blast from Levi Michael and a two-run jack from Mike Gerber. The 8-5 win, combined with a loss from the Fresno Grizzlies, gives the River Cats a three game advantage in the Pacific Northern division.

Sacramento will try to win four of five as the take on Salt Lake tomorrow night in the series finale. Right-hander Brandon Beachy (0-0, No ERA) will make his first career start for the River Cats as he continues his journey back to the big leagues. Salt Lake will give lefty Patrick Sandoval (3-4, 7.71) the nod. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. (PT). Catch all of the action live online at rivercats.com, on the MiLB First Pitch app, on Money 105.5 FM (PT).

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Suarez’ Brilliant As Sacramento River Cats Clobber Isotopes

Avelino comes up a triple shy of the cycle on three hit night

West Sacramento, Calif. — The Sacramento River Cats (43-41) beat up on the Albuquerque Isotopes (35-50) Tuesday night by a score of 11-2, backing a gem from lefty Andrew Suarez with a 16-hit offensive outburst.

Suarez turned in an electric performance for the River Cats, tossing eight shutout innings of one-hit ball with four punchouts. The left-hander cruised to his fourth victory of the season, pitching to contact and keeping the Isotopes hitters off balance throughout the evening. He left after eight innings, throwing 101 pitches (69 strikes), and retiring 16 of the last 17 batters he faced.

Sacramento backed the effort from Suarez with a well-rounded attack from up and down the lineup. Francisco Peña and Abiatal Avelino each picked up a three-hit game on Tuesday, with Avelino finishing just a triple shy of the second cycle in River Cats history. The young shortstop leads the River Cats with 28 multi-hit games this season and is now hitting .286 for the year.

The River Cats will deploy the opener strategy in the series finale, tossing the left-hander Sam Selman (3-1, 1.74) to start, with righty Enderson Franco (2-3, 6.65) to follow. Albuquerque will go with left-hander Kyle Freeman (0-3, 11.12). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. (PT). Catch all of the action live online at rivercats.com, on the MiLB First Pitch app, on Money 105.5 FM.

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Late-Inning Peña Double Lifts Sacramento River Cats Over Chihuahuas

Menez settles down after allowing four runs in first inning

El Paso, Texas — The Sacramento River Cats (40-38) got back in the win column with a narrow 5-4 victory over the El Paso Chihuahuas (48-30) on Wednesday night.

Sacramento trailed 4-1 after one inning but fought back with three runs in the fourth and then the game-clinching run on a Francisco Peña RBI double in the seventh. Third baseman Zach Green led the offense as he reached base three times and scored the winning run after his 13th double of the season preceded Peña’s.

Left-hander Conner Menez got off to a rough start with four earned runs in the first inning, but pitched the next four frames scoreless before handing it over to a trio of relievers. Tyler Rogers, Fernando Abad, and Jandel Gustave collaborated to shut down El Paso and preserve the win. 

For the second time in three games, the River Cats will employ the opener strategy, sending right-hander Sam Coonrod (2-4, 8.25) to the mound. He’ll be primed for the task as he served as a starter for multiple seasons before being transitioned into a reliever in 2018. The Chihuahuas will counter with an opener of their own, listing reliever Robert Stock (3-0, 3.333) as their probable. Left-hander Andrew Suarez (3-5, 5.34) is scheduled to follow Coonrod for the River Cats. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. (PT). Catch all of the action live online at rivercats.com, on the MiLB First Pitch app, on Money 105.5 FM.

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Sacramento River Cats Bullpen Bounces Back In 4-3 Comeback Victory

Garcia homers again, three relievers combine to toss 4.1 shutout innings

Las Vegas, Nevada — The Sacramento River Cats (38-36) leaned on their bullpen to keep them in the game, then used timely hitting to defeat the Las Vegas Aviators (41-33) 4-3. After losing their first five games at the brand new Las Vegas Ballpark, the River Cats have now won two straight in the Aviators’ home yard. 

First baseman Aramis Garcia got the River Cats on the board in the third with a solo home run, his 11th of the year. With the early run, Sacramento has scored first in each of the three games in this series. The River Cats then used small-ball to scratch across their next three runs: an RBI-single from Abiatal Avelino in the fourth, a Ryan Howard RBI-infield-single in the eighth, and a sacrifice fly from Francisco Peña that drove in the eventual winning run. 

The River Cats bullpen, which was near the top of the Pacific Coast League in ERA coming into the series, had an awful first two games in Las Vegas, allowing 12 earned runs in 7.1 innings. On Saturday however, lefty Sam Selman, and righties Ray Black and Tyler Rogers combined for 4.1 innings of shutout baseball to keep the River Cats in the ballgame before closing the door in the ninth.

The River Cats will go for three in a row against the Aviators on Sunday afternoon in game four of this five-game series. Sacramento will send right-hander Enderson Franco (2-2, 6.71) to the mound for his 14th start, and the Aviators will counter with righty Jake Buchanan (3-5, 6.04). First pitch is set for 12:05 p.m. (PT). Catch all of the action live online at rivercats.com, on the MiLB First Pitch app, on Money 105.5 FM, or on CW31 throughout the Sacramento region.

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Sacramento River Cats Fall To Iowa Cubs 8-10

Shaw clubs two homers while Peña records four hits in 10-8 defeat

West Sacramento, Calif. — The Sacramento River Cats (36-34) showed some teeth with three runs in the ninth inning but eventually fell 10-8 to the Iowa Cubs (39-32) on Monday night.

The Sacramento offense launched six home runs, including a pair from first baseman Chris Shaw. His two-run shot in the ninth brought the River Cats to within two runs, and shortstop Abiatal Avelino would get the tying run to the plate with a double, but Cubs reliever Craig Brooks shut the door with a strikeout of infielder Ryan Howard.

Accounting for the other four homers were outfielders Mike Gerber (14) and Austin Slater (11), as well as Howard (3) and catcher Francisco Peña (6). For Peña, his sixth-inning solo home run was his third hit of the game, and he would add a fourth with a single in the eighth. Overall on the season, the right-handed hitting backstop is batting .330 split between his time with Sacramento and the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate Memphis Redbirds.

The River Cats will close the books on this seven-game homestand Tuesday as right-hander Yoanys Quiala (3-2, 5.13) gets the nod for the series finale. He’ll square off with fellow righty Colin Rea (7-1, 3.20). First pitch is set for 12:05 p.m. (PT). Catch all of the action live online at rivercats.com, on the MiLB First Pitch app, or on Money 105.5 FM.

Match Recap Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations