We thought last year was last year. We thought that the 20 wins when trailing after six innings was a thing of the past. We thought that Omaha’s 3-0 lead heading to the stretch was all she wrote in last night’s game…But of course… we were wrong.
The Omaha Storm Chasers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a Peter O’Brien single, then added another two on a Whit Merrifield 2-run blast in the fifth. The 3-0 lead looked like it was going to be more than enough for righty Jake Junis and the rest of the Chasers. Junis was outstanding in his 2017 debut and started by retiring the first seven Sky Sox he faced before Yadiel Rivera tagged a single to right-center in the third. Junis regained control and retired the next 10 in a row, and was through six innings with a 3-0 lead and having retired 18-of-20 Sox batters.
Then…it all changed in the seventh. Garrett Cooper hit a one out single and Brett Phillips snapped an 0-for-2 with 2K night by lacing a double to the gap in right center, ending Junis’ night on the bump. Kevin McCarthy was first out of the pen and Nate Orf smacked a two-run single to center which put Colorado Springs on the board at 3-2. Omaha responded with a pair of its own and upped the lead back to three at 5-2.
The cardiac Sox were just getting hot. Orf smoked a leadoff triple in the ninth and scored on Nick Noonans RBI single and with two on and two out Eric Sogard game through with a game tying two-run single and sent the game to extras…Now Omaha, like they did before responded with two runs in the next half inning and took a 7-5 lead into the bottom of the 10th…The duo of Cooper & Phillips was back at it with a single and two-run, game-tying homer, Phillips’ first in Triple-A. An Orf walk and Noonan double play followed and the 11th inning looked imminent, but Yadiel Rivera and Tyler Heineman reached in front of Wren who sent everyone home happy with a walk-off single to center!
Mark it down, win #1 of the season when trailing after 6 innings.
The Sky Sox banged out 14 hits in the 8-run attack and had three extra-base knocks, two from Phillips and one from Orf. Five Sky Sox had multi-hit games and all nine reached base at least once.
Yadiel Rivera led the way with a 3-for-5 night, notching three singles and a run scored, the game-winning run.
Brett Phillips brought the big stick with a 2-for-5, 2 XBH, 2 RBI night. He tallied the double in the 7th, which knocked Junis out of the game, and the game-tying two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th, his first in Triple-A. He also added an outfield assist, nabbing Ramon Torres at 3B to end Top 10.
Nate Orf went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, a walk and a run scored.
Kyle Wren went 2-for-5 with a walk, run scored and game-winning RBI.
Garrett Cooper had a 2-for-5 night with two runs scored.
Eric Sogard’s, game tying two-run single in the ninth was his hit for the night.
Ryan Cordell and Nick Noonan each chipped in with a hit and Tyler Heineman drew a walk with two outs in the bottom of the tenth to move the winning run into scoring position.
Paolo Espino made his Sky Sox debut with 5 2/3 solid innings of work, and I tell you what you can’t convince me he’s not Hiram Burgos out there on the mound. The perfect pitcher for Colorado Springs. He’s got a beautiful breaking ball and mixes speeds and locations like a big-time pitcher. He finished his outing allowing 3 runs on 9 hits, he didn’t walk anyone and struck out 7. 61 of his 82 pitches went for strikes.
The bullpen gave up its first earned runs of the season with two in the eighth and two in the tenth.
Lefty Andrew Barbosa debuted with a scoreless inning as he wrapped up the sixth with an out and pitched around an error in the 7th to get two outs before being lifted for…
Stephen Kohlscheen. The big, burly righty struck out the first two hitters he faced to end the seventh and start the eighth, but gave up three hits in a row after that. Ryan O’Hearn got him for a solo homer, Bubba Starling a double and Cam Gallagher an RBI single.
Tyler Cravy was called upon for two innings and he was rewarded with the victory. He allowed two runs int he top of the 10th after pitching a scoreless ninth. He gave up the runs on two hits, walked a pair and struck out one.
According to Sky Sox Historian, Chris Moyer, it is just the fourth time in team history the Sox have started the season 2-0.
– 1993 season, 2-0 start on the road at Portland, lost in game three
– 2004 season, 3-0 start on the road at Nashville, lost in game four
– 2009 season, 3-0 start home vs. Las Vegas, lost in game four
Play of the Game:
Brett Phillips Game-Tying 2-Run Homer in the 10th
Preview of Saturday’s Tilt –
This opening homestand just keeps getting better for the Sky Sox! First a 2-1 win on opening night, followed by the 8-7 10-inning thriller last night, and today the Sky Sox faithful will be treated to one of the best pitching matchups in all of Minor League Baseball. Colorado Springs will send righty Brandon Woodruff to the mound against Omaha’s highly-touted righty Josh Staumont. MLBPipeline.com has labeled it the “Duel of the Day”.
Sky Sox Pitcher –
Brandon Woodruff gets his turn in the rotation for the first time in 2017 this afternoon against the Omaha Storm Chasers. It marks his Triple-A and Sky Sox debut following a tremendous 2016 season in which he combined to go 14-9 with a 2.68 ERA in 28 starts between High-A Brevard County and Double-A Biloxi. He allowed 51 runs (47 earned) on 121 hits in 158 innings. He walked 40 and struck out a Minor League best 173 opposing hitters. He is a ground ball and strikeout pitcher, that style should play well in the Springs. Drafted by the Brewers in the 11th round of the 2014 draft out of Mississippi State, Woodruff has compiled a career record of 19-18 with a 3.03 ERA. He is rated as the 7th best prospect and the labeled as the pitcher with the best fastball in the Brewers organization.
Storm Chasers Pitcher –
Josh Staumont will counter against Woodruff and is a great young arm in his own right. He, too, is coming off a breakout 2016 where he went 4-11 with a 4.23 ERA in 29 appearances (26 starts) between High-A Wilmington and Double-A Northwest Arkansas. He logged 123 1/3 innings and yielded 67 runs (58 earned) on 104 hits, 104 walks and 167 strikeouts. Opponents hit .231 against the righty from La Habra, California. Baseball America lists Staumont as the Top Prospect in the Royals system and states that he has the best fastball which has hit triple digits on a number of occasions throughout his career. He was selected by the Royals in the second round of the 2015 draft out of Azusa Pacific. In his brief career, the righty has tallied a 7-12 record with a 3.80 ERA in 47 appearances. This marks his Triple-A debut.
Starting Lineups –
Sky Sox Starting Nine
- 5 – Kyle Wren – LF
- 18 – Eric Sogard – DH
- 7 – Ryan Cordell – RF
- 30 – Garrett Cooper – 1B
- 8 – Brett Phillips – CF
- 11 – Ivan De Jesus – 2B
- 9 – Nick Noonan – 3B
- 29 – Yadiel Rivera – SS
- 2 – Adam Weisenburger – C
RHP – 23 – Brandon Woodruff
Omaha Starting Nine –
- 14 – Billy Burns – LF
- 2 – Ramon Torres – SS
- 4 – Whit Merrifield – 2B
- 33 – Peter O’Brien
- 41 – Jorge Bonifacio – RF
- 21 – Ryan O’Hearn – 1B
- 6 – Bubba Starling – CF
- 25 – Brayan Pena – C
- 9 – Dean Anna – 3B
RHP – 37 – Josh Staumont
Let’s Play Ball!