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.
Following the 13-run victory, the Sky Sox will look to follow that up with another productive outing tonight at Chukchansi Park. The second game of the series will see the lefty Sam Freeman for the Sky Sox and the southpaw Tommy Shirley of the Grizzlies. Freeman will make his third appearance for Colorado Springs and his second start. He has logged 3 2/3 innings with the Sox and has allowed 1 run on three hits. Shirley will make his ninth start of the season for the Grizz and looks to get above .500 with his fourth win of the year as he sits at 3-3 with a 4.07 ERA. Fresno took home both the PCL Championship and the Triple-A Championship in 2016. The Sky Sox went 1-2 against the Grizzlies last year, are 86-106 overall, and 37-58 on the road against them. Both teams are off to slow starts as the Sky Sox enter play at 20-24 and the Grizzlies come in with a 21-26 record.
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (20-24) at Fresno Grizzlies (21-26) – 8:05 p.m. –Chukchansi Park – Fresno, California
Pitching Matchup: LHP Sam Freeman (0-0, 2.45) at LHP Tommy Shirley (3-3, 4.07)
Sky Sox Pitcher: LHP Sam Freeman is set to make his second start in a row for the Sky Sox and second career start tonight against the Grizzlies. Freeman has logged just 3 2/3 innings in two outings with the Sky Sox, one in relief and one in a starting role. He pitched a scoreless pair of innings against the 51s at home and gave up a run across 5 outs to the River Cats in his start. Freeman is with his third organization after he was selected by the Cardinals in the 32nd round of the 2008 draft he moved to the Rangers last year and finds himself with the Brewers this season. Prior to Milwaukee optioning him to Colorado Springs he made seven appearances out of the pen and compiled a 12.91 ERA in 7 2/3 innings allowing 11 runs on 13 hits, 9 walks, and 8 strikeouts.
Last Time Out: 5/23/16 at Sacramento – Freeman started and was slated to only go 40 pitches or 2 innings, whichever came first. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make it out of the second inning as he allowed a run on a hit, a hit batter, 3 walks, and one strikeout. He threw 45 pitches, 23 of which were strikes.
2016 Game Log:
Grizzlies Pitcher: LHP Tommy Shirley will make his ninth start tonight for the Grizzlies. He’s accumulated a 3-3 record with a 4.07 ERA allowing 19 runs on 54 hits, 11 walks, and 25 strikeouts across 42 innings of work. Opponents are knocking him around to the tune of a .329 average. Shirley is coming off of his worst start where he lasted 3 1/3 innings against the OKC Dodgers. He has not pitched six-full innings over his last three starts and has not earned a win since April 25 against Reno. The lefty is still in search of his big-league debut and has made 105 minor-league appearances, 49 of which have been starts. He is an even .500 with a 17-17 record with three saves and a miniscule 2.84 ERA in 348 innings. Shirley was selected by the Astros in the 9th round of the 2010 draft out of Xavier University. The former Musketeer hails from Oakland, PA.
Last Time Out: 5/23/2016 vs. Oklahoma City – Shirley lasted 3 1/3 innings and allowed 6 runs on 7 hits, 1 walk, and 3 strikeouts. He threw just 62 pitches and 43 were in the zone, he just wasn’t missing any bats. The Grizzlies would come alllllllll the way back from a 7-1 deficit to take Shirley off the hook and won the game 8-7 in walk-off fashion.
2016 Game Log:
Dan Karcher (@SkySoxKarch) continues his 27th season behind the mic for Sky Sox games, he will have the call of tonight’s game from Chukchansi Park at 8:05 p.m. I’ll get Sky Sox Warmup get all fired up at 7:30 MDT on XTRA Sports 1300.
Thanks for reading – See you on the radio,