Whatever offensive woes plagued the Sky Sox on the first half of this road trip seemed to be left behind in Sacramento as the boys racked up 17 runs on 20 hits, including four homers, two of which were grand slams, in their 17-4 drubbing of Fresno in the series opener last night. The hit and run totals were season-highs for Colorado Springs. Tyler Cravy took the mound with a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the first and never looked back. The righty earned the win with five strong innings and was backed up by Brent Suter who recorded a four-inning save. Will Middlebrooks connected for a first inning grand salami and Andy Wilkins hit one in the sixth. Shane Peterson had a perfect night at the plate with a five hits and a walk in six trips to the plate.
The Sky Sox connected for 17 runs on 20 hits in the opener. The 17 run output was the most runs in one game since they put up 19 against Las Vegas in a win on 4/15/2013 at Cashman Field.
The grand slams by Middlebrooks and Wilkins mark just the second time in Sky Sox history that two players hit the jackpot in the same game. The other instance was on August 20, 2001 at Security Service Field against the then Salt Lake Stingers.
All nine Sky Sox in the starting lineup connected for at least one base hit with six players recording multiple-hit games including a five hit game, two three-hit games, and three two-hit games.
Shane Peterson is on a tear to say the least. The outfielder fell a triple shy of the cycle for the second time this road trip and went 5-for-5 with a double, solo home run, three singles, and a walk, reaching base all six times. In 27 at-bats since coming off the disabled list, Peterson is hitting .556 (15-for-27), 1.734 OPS, 3 HR, 9 XBH, 7 RBI, 2 SB. What. A. Week.
Will Middlebrooks had been scuffling, there is not doubt as he was 3-for-29 over his last nine games and his average had dropped to .174. That changed in a hurry last night. Middlebrooks stepped into the box in the top of the first inning with the Sox leading 2-0 and the bases loaded and took a 2-1 pitch over the wall in center for a grand slam which began his big night. The infielder went 3-for-5 with a double, and the grand slam from the eight spot in the lineup.
Yadiel Rivera tallied the other three-hit performance for the Sky Sox at the top spot in the order. He went 3-for-6 with a double and two runs scored.
Andy Wilkins jumped into the pool with a grand slam in the sixth inning against the new arm Chris Cotton. Cotton, a lefty, took over for the started Mike Hauschild and had Wilkins to face for his first test. Lefty/lefty matchups are intended to favor the pitcher, but the big first baseman worked the count full and crushed a grand slam to the opposite field over the wall in left and put the Sky Sox up 12-2. In 50 at-bats against lefties Wilkins is hitting .320 (16-for-50) with 7 XBHs and 9 RBI.
Manny Pina got the scoring going when he put the ball in play with two on in the first inning. He hit a ball that the second baseman played into an error and two runs came around to score and the onslaught was on. Pina would go on to collect two hits and score three runs in the win.
Garin Cecchini had a 2-for-6 night at the dish and kept the scoring going with a three-run blast in the eighth inning. The homer was his third of the season and first against a lefty as it came against Chris Cotton as well. Ceech upped his average to .266 with the two knocks.
Eric Young, Jr. turned the lineup card over nicely with two hits from the nine spot. The two singles make him the 19th player in Sky Sox history to hit 200 singles in his Sky Sox career.
Tyler Cravy had an easy road to hoe, thanks in part to his offense putting up six runs in the first inning. Cravy still had to go out and do his job, and he did it well to the tune of five innings in which he allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 2 hits, 3 walks, and 5 strikeouts. He earned the win, his first in Triple-A since June 13, 2015 against Iowa. The righty threw just 72 pitches, 42 of which were strikes.
Brent Suter earned the four-inning save in the 17-4 blowout in his return action since being activated a couple of days ago. He went four innings and allowed 2 runs on 2 hits, 1 walk, and 2 strikeouts. He recorded his first Triple-A save, third career save and first since September 3, 2012 against Burlington when he was with Wisconsin. Suter becomes the first pitcher in 11 1/2 seasons to throw a four-inning save, the last being Travis Driskill on August 19, 2004 in a 21-7 win over New Orleans. It marks the eighth time in franchise history that the Sky Sox have earned a four-inning save.
Thanks to Chris Moyer, Sky Sox team historian, for a bunch of nuggets that were used in this blog.
Play of the Game –
The Sky Sox hit the Grizzlies early and often. It’s tough to single out one play of the game in an affair such as this, so I’ll pick two. The grand slams. Will Middlebrooks must’ve felt massive amounts of relief when he connected for his round tripper with the sacks packed in the first and the same can be said for Andy Wilkins in the sixth.
Pregame Interview with Dan Karcher and Manager Rick Sweet –
Thanks for reading – See you on the radio,