Following their Governors’ Cup playoff modus operandi, the Clippers scored early and often Tuesday night, topping the Tacoma Rainiers, 12-6, in the Triple-A National Championship Game from Oklahoma City.
It marked the second straight win for the International League in the game, which features the IL champ against the Pacific Coast League’s winner. Durham, the team Columbus beat three games to one in the Governors’ Cup series, was the previous title holder.
David Huff earned the win for Columbus, pitching six innings – most of which came with a comfortable lead. He allowed all six Tacoma runs off of seven hits, while striking out six. Zach Putnam, Josh Judy and Vinnie Pestano each tossed a scoreless inning of relief to back Huff.
The Clippers got the scoring started with three runs in the home-half of the second inning. Jason Kipnis led off the frame with a home run, followed by back-to-back doubles from Jared Goedert and Jerad Head.
After Tacoma scored three runs to tie the game in the third, Columbus broke the game open with four in the fourth and five more in the fifth. After an RBI-single in the fourth, Head doubled home two more in the fifth, and his three-hit, four-RBI night made him the game’s MVP.
The Clippers belted out 19 hits as a team, compared to just nine for the Rainiers. Kipnis and Josh Rodriguez joined Head in the three-hit club, and five other Columbus starters had two hits.
The victory marked the end of a strong postseason for the Clippers, who struggled in the final weeks of the regular season and made the IL postseason as the wild card team, then cruised to series wins against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Durham to win the franchise’s first Governors’ Cup in 14 years. It all set the tone for a huge finale game in front of a national television audience – leaving Columbus as the undisputed Triple-A champions.