Triple-A Championship Game Tonight!
The Triple-A National Championship game will be held tonight in Durham, NC at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park at 7:00 p.m. It’s a great event and it’s for all the marbles. The winner of this game is the Triple-A champion.
Tonight’s game pits the Pawtucket Red Sox of the International League against the Reno Aces of the Pacific Coast League. Each year, the two Triple-A Leagues come together for this winner-take-all playoff game.
The Charlotte Knights were just three wins away from punching their ticket to this game. The Knights lost the Governors’ Cup three-games-to-zero to Pawtucket, who moved on to play for tonight’s championship.
Tonight’s game features a former 2012 Knight on each team.
The Reno Aces feature infielder Tyler Kuhn, while the Pawtucket Red Sox feature Zach Stewart.
Let’s take a look at each player:
Tyler Kuhn: 2011-2012 Charlotte Knights
In 2008, he hit .375 over 62 games for Great Falls. He led the Pioneer League in triples (9), ranked second in average (.375), on-base percentage (.424) and hits (96). He was a Pioneer League All-Star and was named to the Topps/Minor League Baseball Short-Season All-Rookie team.
A year later, Kuhn continued his climb through the organization. He hit .299 for Kannapolis over 58 games before being promoted to Winston-Salem on 6/18. He hit .281 for the Dash in 68 games.
In 2010, the Kentucky native spent the entire year with Double-A Birmingham and posted a .279 batting average with five home runs and 50 RBIs. He also legged out six triples and ripped 17 doubles in 109 games.
The 2011 season was also a very good one for the West Virginia University product. He spent the majority of the season with Birmingham and hit an amazing .341 with 11 triples over 107 games. He was a Southern League Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star and finished second in the league in batting average.
He finished the season with the Knights and appeared in 23 games for Charlotte hitting .297.
As for 2012, Kuhn entered the year ranked by Baseball America as the Best Hitter for Average in the White Sox organization. He began the year with the Knights and hit .273 for the club in 103 games. He scored a career-high 65 runs and had four home runs and 36 RBIs. His 35 multi-hit games were the most by a Knight in 2012.
On August 9, Kuhn was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. He was assigned to Reno and hit .264 in 23 games with the Aces. He hit .333 with two home runs over his final 10 games and helped lead the club to the championship. In the PCL playoffs (nine games), Kuhn hit .316 with two home runs and nine RBIs. His 12 hits were second in the PCL playoffs and he tied for the lead in doubles with four.
Stewart and the PawSox will look to keep their momentum of a three-game sweep over the Knights alive tonight in the Triple-A Championship. Stewart is not scheduled to start the game.
Stewart began the 2012 season with the Chicago White Sox and went 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA in 18 games (one start). In his only start for the White Sox, on 6/18 vs. the Cubs, he allowed six runs on nine hits over 5.2 IP and was hit with the loss. He was then optioned to the Knights the next day. He wasn’t a Knight for long however.
Stewart was set to start for the Knights on Sunday, June 24, but never made the start. Instead, he was traded, along with former Knight Brent Lillibridge, to Boston for Kevin Youkilis.
He would make two regular season starts against the Knights this season. On 6/27, he beat the Knights in a 5-1 game at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket. On 8/23 at Knights Stadium, he allowed two runs over seven innings and was saddled with the loss.
Then, he would face the Knights in game two of the Governors’ Cup championship. He threw six shutout innings and led the PawSox to a 2-0 victory.
Stewart was originally obtained by Chicago on July 27, 2011 from Toronto with pitcher Jason Frasor in exchange for Edwin Jackson. On 9/5/11 at Minnesota, Stewart threw a one-hit shutout. The only hit he allowed was a double in the eighth inning to infielder Danny Valencia. Stewart lost his only start with Charlotte in 2011 (0-1, 4.26) after allowing three runs on 10 hits over 6.1 IP.
Tonight’s game will be televised on NBC Sports Network at 7:00 p.m. It’s a must-watch!