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Memphis Redbirds 2018 Season Review Pacific Coast League Champions. Triple-A National Champions. The Top of the Heap.

It started April 5 in Round Rock.

And it finished as Triple-A National Champions on Sept. 18.

The 2018 season was remarkable in so many ways.

Memphis went 83-57 in the regular-season, notching the best record in the PCL for the second-straight season. Memphis went a combined 174-107 in the past two regular seasons. The 174 wins between two regular seasons were the most in a two-year span by Memphis clubs since 1933-34, when they also won 174 games.

Including postseason wins, the Redbirds won 90 games in each of the last two seasons.

The 2017 and 2018 Redbirds are the first Memphis professional baseball teams to win back-to-back titles since the Memphis Chickasaws of the Southern Association won consecutive titles from 1952-53.

Stubby Clapp was named PCL Manager of the Year for the second-consecutive season. He is just the third PCL manager on record to win the award in consecutive seasons. With Memphis' ninth win of the season, he became the fastest manager in both franchise history and in the 116-year history of the PCL to reach 100 wins.

Three players were named to the Triple-A All-Star Game in July. Patrick Wisdom, Dakota Hudson, and Daniel Poncedeleon all participated in the game. All three players were promoted to St. Louis during the season to make their Major League debuts.
Tyler O'Neill and Dakota Hudson were named to the All-PCL Team after the year. O'Neill played in 64 games with Memphis, hitting .311 with 26 home runs, 61 runs, and 63 RBI. Hudson went 13-3 with a 2.50 ERA in 19 starts spanning 111.2 innings. He was also named the PCL Pitcher of the Year.
Tyler O'Neill and Adolis Garcia both had three home run games within the same week. First time in franchise history, multiple players had that kind of performance in the same season. On July 22 against Colorado Springs in Memphis, O'Neill went 3-for-5 with three home runs, four RBI, and three runs scored. Then on July 26 at Salt Lake, Garcia went 3-for-4 with three home runs, eight RBI, and three runs scored. The eight RBI tied the franchise record.
Luke Voit hit for the cycle on June 30 at Iowa. He became the second player in franchise history to accomplish the feat, joining Mark Little (6/23/2000). In that game, he went 5-for-6 at the plate, driving in five runs and scoring twice. The game was suspended due to severe weather and completed the next day.
On April 23 against the Iowa Cubs, left-handed pitcher Austin Gomber tied the franchise record with 16 strikeouts. He became the second pitcher in franchise history to record 16 K's in a game (Lance Lynn, 9/10/10 at OKC), and the first to accomplish the feat in the regular season. Memphis won the game 3-0, and for his efforts, he was named PCL Player of the Week and Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Month for April.
On July 15 at Omaha, pitcher Daniel Poncedeleon threw a complete-game one-hit shutout to beat the Storm Chasers. It was the 11th one-hit performance in Memphis history, and the 17th shutout in franchise history. For his performance, he was named the PCL Pitcher of the Week and the Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Month for July. He made his MLB debut a week later and threw seven no-hit innings.
For the second-straight season, Memphis pitchers set the franchise record for best ERA at 3.54. Last year, the club set the record with a 3.77 mark. It was also the second-consecutive season Memphis led the PCL in ERA. Memphis' entire Opening Day rotation of John Gant, Dakota Hudson, Austin Gomber, Jack Flaherty, and Daniel Poncedeleon all finished the season on St. Louis' roster.
Six players were promoted from Memphis to make their Major League debuts with the Cardinals: Austin Gomber, Dakota Hudson, Daniel Poncedeleon, Adolis Garcia, Patrick Wisdom, and Tyler O'Neill. A total of 18 players were promoted at some point in the season.
66 different players were listed on the Memphis roster this season. An impressive 22 made their Triple-A debuts, 18 were promoted to St. Louis, and six made their Major League debuts.

PLAYOFF RUN:

The Redbirds won their second-consecutive American Southern Division Championship with a walk-off win over Nashville on Aug. 25. They scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to complete the 4-3 comeback win. It was the second time in franchise history the Redbirds won back-to-back division titles (2009-2010).

Division Champions.

On Sept. 9, Memphis topped Oklahoma City 4-3 in 10 innings to walk-off and advance to their second-consecutive Pacific Coast League Championship Series. The Redbirds scored three runs in the bottom of the 10th to complete the comeback and win the series 3-1.

Conference Champions.

On Sept. 15, Memphis bested the Fresno Grizzlies, 5-0, to win their series 3-1 and win their second-straight PCL Championship. It was the first time in franchise history the Redbirds won the PCL title in consecutive seasons. Randy Arozarena hit two home runs in the game, and Jake Woodford threw 7.1 shutout innings to lead Memphis to victory. Arozarena and Tommy Edman were named co-MVPs of the playoffs.

The 2018 championship happened at AutoZone Park 18 years to the date of the Redbirds' first PCL title in 2000.

Pacific Coast League Champions.

On Sept. 18, the Redbirds were crowned Triple-A National Champions. They defeated the Durham Bulls of the International League, 14-4, to capture the trophy. It was their first national title win in four chances. Alex Mejia was named MVP of the game after going 5-for-5 with three runs scored, a double, and five RBI in the win.

Top Six Games of the Season:

Number 1: Memphis pounded out 17 hits and 14 runs to win its first-ever National Championship on Sept. 18 in Columbus, Ohio. It was the Redbirds' first national title win in four tries. Pitcher Kevin Herget threw 5.1 strong innings, and Alex Mejia and Lane Thomas led the way at the plate, each driving in five runs. Mejia was named MVP after a five-hit performance.
Number 2: On Sept. 15, Memphis used two home runs off the bat of Randy Arozarena and 7.1 shutout innings from Jake Woodford to win Game 4 of its series with Fresno and win its second-consecutive PCL Championship.
Number 3: On Sept. 9, Memphis stormed back twice in the game, once to tie and send it to extras, and then in the 10th to win the game. The Redbirds walked off the Oklahoma City Dodgers 4-3, winning the American Conference Championship Series three games to one.
Number 4: On Aug. 25, Memphis scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to walk-off the Nashville Sounds and win its second-consecutive American Southern Division Championship. The Redbirds finished the regular-season at 83-57 and 11.0 games ahead of Nashville.
Number 5 (tie): July 22 -- Tyler O'Neill went 3-for-5 at the plate with three home runs and four RBI. It was the sixth-three home run performance in Memphis history, and the first since 2013. July 26 -- Adolis Garcia went 3-for-4 at the plate with three home runs and eight RBI. It was the seventh-three home run performance in Memphis history, and the first time Memphis had accomplished the feat in the same season. He also tied the franchise record for RBI in a game.
Number 6 (tie): April 23 -- Left-handed starting pitcher Austin Gomber dazzled against the Iowa Cubs in 8.0 shutout innings. The lefty struck out 16 batters in the game, tying the franchise record, which was set by Lance Lynn in a playoff game in 2010. The performance set the record for most strikeouts by a Memphis pitcher in a regular-season game. July 19 -- Right-handed starting pitcher Daniel Poncedeleon dominated against the Omaha Storm Chasers. The righty threw a one-hit, complete-game shutout in Memphis' win. It was just the 11th one-hit performance turned in by Memphis in franchise history and the 17th complete-game shutout thrown by a Memphis pitcher in franchise history. He was called-up and made his Major League debut the next week, throwing seven no-hit innings.

Season highlights at the ballpark:

An Easter candy drop from a helicopter.
For every Thursday home game, the Redbirds played as the Memphis Chicks, paying tribute to Memphis' baseball history.
Memphis played three games as the Memphis Musica this season as part of MiLB's Copa de la Diversion series. MiLB introduced the initiative before the season as a way to resonate more with Hispanic and Latino cultures.
Harry Potter Night featuring specialty jerseys, Butterbeer, free invisibility cloaks, photo stations, handmade wands, photo stations, and a costume parade.
The Redbirds hosted Grit Grind Night with the Memphis Grizzlies toward the end of the season and auctioned off specialty jerseys. Earlier in the season, after the NBA Draft, both of the Grizzlies' draft picks threw out ceremonial first pitches.
Several times throughout the season, Memphis paid tribute to first responders, military heroes, and America as a whole. Some of these tributes included Mid-South Ford Heroes Weekend over Memorial Day Weekend and Memphis' 4th of July Celebration, presented by AutoZone.
Other promotions including Wrestling Night and Star Wars Night. Specialty jerseys worn on Star Wars Night were auctioned with proceeds benefiting the Redbirds Community Fund.
Front Row L-R: Steve Selby (Radio), Matthew Milhouse (Clubhouse), Trevor Stuart (Clubhouse), Brian Burgamy (Coach), Stubby Clapp (Manager), Dernier Orozco (Pitching Coach), Matt Corvo (Athletic Trainer), Lance Thomason (Strength and Conditioning Coach). Second Row L-R: Kevin Herget (P), Austin Warner (P), Alex Mejia (INF), Carson Kelly (C), Edward Mujica (P), Landon Beck (P), Lane Thomas (OF), Ramon Urias (INF), Tommy Edman (INF), Max Schrock (INF). Third Row L-R: Steven Baron (C), Andrew Morales (P), Tyler Webb (P), Tommy Layne (P), Jake Woodford (P), Connor Jones (P), Giovanny Gallegos (P), Tyler Lyons (P). Fourth Row L-R: Wilfredo Tovar (INF), Edmundo Sosa (INF), Conner Greene (P), Adolis Garcia (OF), Randy Arozarena (OF), Rangel Ravelo (INF), Justin Williams (OF), Chris Ellis (P).

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