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Lockett to start championship game for El Paso

Chihuahuas play Yankees affiliate in Memphis on Tuesday
San Diego Padres

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

El Paso manager Rod Barajas has named right-hander Walker Lockett the starter for the Chihuahuas Tuesday night in the Triple-A championship game in Memphis, Tenn.

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

El Paso manager Rod Barajas has named right-hander Walker Lockett the starter for the Chihuahuas Tuesday night in the Triple-A championship game in Memphis, Tenn.

El Paso, which won its first Pacific Coast League championship Saturday night in a 4-3, 11-inning win at Oklahoma City, will play International League champion Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the one-game Triple-A championship. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is the New York Yankees' affiliate.

Lockett, 22, started Game 1 of the Pacific Coast League championship series against Oklahoma City. In two playoff starts, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound Lockett was 1-0 with a 4.63 ERA. He allowed six runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings.

Lockett, who features a sinking fastball, was the only player in the Padres' system to pitch for all four full-season Minor League teams this season. He was a combined 10-9 with a 2.96 ERA in 164 innings over 28 appearances (25 starts) during the regular season. His combined 2.96 ERA was the lowest in the Padres' system.

Lockett will be backed by a bullpen that had a 2.12 ERA during El Paso's 6-2 playoff run that included a 4-1 road record.

Three of the relievers employed in the two playoff series - right-handers Derek Eitel (2-0) and Phil Maton (three saves) and left-hander Buddy Baumann (1-0) finished with 0.00 ERAs. Each worked 4 1/3 innings in five appearances.

Left-handers Kyle McGrath (1.17 ERA) and Jose Torres (1.80 ERA) and right-hander Jason Jester (3.00 ERA) were the busiest members of the El Paso bullpen during the PCL playoffs.

Offensively, the Chihuahuas are led by PCL Playoff Most Valuable Player Manuel Margot and the center fielder's three All-Star teammates -- catcher Austin Hedges, right fielder Hunter Renfroe (the PCL's regular season MVP) and second baseman Carlos Asuaje (the PCL's Rookie of the Year).

After leading all of Triple-A in hitting and runs scored during the regular season, El Paso batted .276 as a team during the eight-game PCL playoffs with 17 doubles, three triples and eight homers.

Margot led El Paso, batting .361 (13-for-36) during the playoffs with three doubles, two triples, a home run, two steals, seven runs scored and four RBIs. He also drew five walks for a .439 on-base percentage. With a .639 slugging percentage, Margot had a 1.078 OPS for the two rounds.

Hedges also had a great postseason, batting .324 (11-for-34) with five doubles, two homers six runs scored and four RBIs. He had a .361 on-base percentage and a .625 slugging percentage for a .987 OPS.

Renfroe hit .273 (9-for-33) with two doubles, a homer (to win the finale of the Tacoma semifinal series), three walks, nine runs scored and four RBIs. Renfroe led El Paso in runs scored during the playoffs and had a .333 on-base percentage and a .424 slugging percentage for a .757 OPS.

Asuaje hit .258 (8-for-31) in the playoffs with a double, a homer, five walks, three runs scored and eight RBIs. He tied infielder Diego Goris for the team lead in RBIs and had a .361 on-base percentage.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

San Diego Padres