It's hard to believe that Ben Mondor wasn’t smiling down on Fort Mill, South Carolina on Thursday night.
The longtime owner of the Pawtucket Red Sox, who passed away in 2010, had only witnessed his club win one International League Championship, back in 1984.
On Thursday night the PawSox reclaimed the Governors’ Cup for the first time in 28 years after sweeping the Charlotte Knights with a 4-1 victory in game three at Knights Stadium.
For the third straight game Pawtucket got a solid effort out of their starting pitcher as 38-year-old Nelson Figueroa held back the Knights for six innings, allowing only one run while scattering seven hits and striking out five.
J.C. Linares helped keep the Knights in check when he came up with a big first-inning assist, cutting down Greg Golson to end an early threat and keep the game scoreless.
The bats wasted little time in staking Figueroa a lead, posting up two runs in the second inning behind an RBI single by catcher Mike Rivera and a sacrifice fly from Che-Hsuan Lin.
The Knights pulled within one in the bottom of the fifth inning when Carlos Sanchez drove in Jared Mitchell on a single to right field. Sanchez tried to advance to second on Bryce Brentz’s throw to the plate, but first baseman Andy LaRoche cut off the throw and gunned him down to end the inning.
Linares also contributed on the offensive end of things, following up Jeremy Hazelbaker’s RBI triple in the seventh with an RBI single of his own to score Hazelbaker and give Pawtucket a three-run cushion for the final three innings.
As has been the case all postseason, the bullpen came on and held down the fort with Will Inman, Jose De La Torre and Josh Fields all working one scoreless inning to clinch the title.
The team will remain in North Carolina as they await the winner of the Pacific Coast League series for the one-game, Triple-A National Championship next Tuesday in Durham.
The Omaha Storm Chasers and Reno Aces are tied at one game apiece in the PCL series which resumes on Friday night.
The championship is the third in Pawtucket Red Sox history (1973, 1984, 2012).
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