It is no secret that the Sky Sox have struggled offensively on this road trip, so when Andy Wilkins crushed a go-ahead grand slam in the top of the ninth inning and put Colorado Springs up 5-2, it looked like the burden had been lifted and a second road-trip win was secure. However, the bottom of the ninth had to be played, and boy, did the Redbirds take advantage of their final at-bats.
Damien Magnifico was in his second inning of work for the Sox and gave up three-straight singled to begin the inning. He then hit the next batter which brought in a run and made it 5-3. Dean Anna walked against the righty to make it 5-4, and thus Magnifico’s night came to an end. Jaye Chapman came on in the one-run game with the bases loaded and nobody out to face Kolten Wong. Wong, who hit a leadoff homer to open the game, worked the count to 3-1 and took the fifth pitch of his at-bat deep over the wall in right for a game-winning grand slam. It’s the second time in two weeks the Sky Sox have lost on a walk-off salami, both have been allowed by Chapman. The Redbirds plated a pair in the first, and Will Middlebrooks got the Sox on the board with a solo homer in the second, his second dinger in as many games.
Hitting Notes –
The Sky Sox broke out for 5 runs on 9 hits in the series opener, both of which were high-water marks on this road trip.
Will Middlebrooks opened the scoring with a solo home run in the second inning, his second in as many games and fifth homer of the season. WMB collected two hits on the night and has upped his average to .238 with a great two weeks at the plate. He’s got 8 multi-hit games in his last 12.
Andy Wilikins was 0-for-4 with 4 Ks as he stepped in for his final plate appearance in the ninth inning. Facing Sam Tuivailala and down in the count 0-2 with the bases loaded, staring his fifth strikeout down, Wilkins crushed a grand slam to right and gave the Sky Sox the 5-2 lead. It was the second grand slam of the season for Wilkins and the fifth for Colorado Springs.
Manny Pina tallied the other two-hit game for the Sox and went 2-for-4 with an intentional walk (in front of Wilkins’ grand slam). He continues to pace the offense with his .349 average, good enough for fifth in the league.
Pitching Notes –
The Sky Sox bullpen has given up 16 runs in the last two games.
Tyler Cravy started the game for Colorado Springs and was slow out of the gate, allowing two runs in the first. He would settle in and completed 4 1/3 innings and allowed the 2 runs on 3 hits, 3 walks, and 5 strikeouts. The solo home run off the bat of Wong greeted Cravy, who ended up throwing 87 pitches, 52 of which went for strikes.
Damien Magnifico entered in the bottom of the eighth inning and allowed a walk to Wong, but that was it. He was greeted by the three singles that opened the ninth, hit Matt Williams off the helmet with a pitch to bring home a run and walked pinch hitter Dean Anna which made the score 5-4. He departed with the lead, but also with the bases loaded and no outs in a one-run game. His final line read 1 innings, 5 runs, 3 hits, 2 walks, and a hit batter and he was hung with the loss.
Jaye Chapman entered the game in the toughest of spots with the bases loaded, no outs in a one run game. Kolten Wong was the first batter he faced and Wong worked the count to 3-1 before hitting the grand slam.
Play of the Game –
With the Sox trailing 2-1 in the ninth, the Redbirds walked Manny Pina to get to Andy Wilkins who was 0-4 with 4 Ks. Wilkins fell behind in the count 0-2 before he crushed the third pitch of his plate appearance deep over the wall in right for his second grand slam of the season, which gave the Sox the brief 5-2 lead.
Pregame Interview with Sky Sox Manager Rick Sweet –
Thanks for reading – See you on the radio,