Sox Scribbles: Espino Spins Another Beaut, Cooper Connects in 4-1 Win…Another Primo Pitching Matchup On Deck with Woodruff and Gregorio Tonight

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Brandon Woodruff enters play with a 5-0 record, four of which have come at Security Service Field. (Bobby Stevens/MiLB)

After the seventh-inning debacle on Thursday morning, it was imperative for Colorado Springs to jump out early in Friday night’s game, and they did just that, plating a pair in the first and hanging on to win 4-1 over the River Cats. It was a lengthy affair, but one that was dominated by the Sky Sox pitching staff, beginning with Paolo Espino.

The righty was never in danger despite recording just one perfect inning. He gave up a walk in the first, a leadoff double in the second, nothing in the third, a walk in the fourth and a bunt single in the fifth, but nothing more. Espino ran out of gas in the sixth and was lifted with one on and one out. Tristan Archer was the first out of the ‘pen and got the two outs to end the inning.

As stated above, the offense picked up the starter right out the chute against Tyler Beede, the Giants’ top prospect. Lewis Brinson began the game with a double, but was erased on a fielder’s choice that put Kyle Wren at first. Ryan Cordell doubled, and Garrett Cooper followed with a two-bagger of his own that put the Sox in front for good, 2-0. The home team brought in another two runs in the third thanks to a Wren triple and RBI singles by Cordell and Brett Phillips. That’d be all the scoring for Colorado Springs, and it would be more than enough.

Archer was solid out of the bullpen and picked up eight outs in near perfect order allowing one hit and hitting a batter. Sacramento made things a little dicey against Michael Blazek in the ninth. The first two were retired in order, but back-to-back doubles by Mac Williamson and Tim Federowicz got the ‘Cats on the board at 4-1. Juniel Querecuto singled to bring the tying run to the plate, but Juan Ciriaco popped out to first to end the game.

FULL RECAP HERE

Hitting Notes – 

The Sky Sox picked up the four runs on eleven hits, 10 of which came against the starter Beede. The heart of the order (batters 3-4-5) tallied seven of the eleven knocks.

Ryan Cordell had a perfect day at the dish going 3-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. His double in the first was his 10th of the season and it marked the 12th multi-hit game off his season. He is now riding a six-game hitting streak.

Garrett Cooper went 2-for-4 with a two-run double and single in the seventh. He is second in the league with 38 RBI and has 12 doubles in 2017.

Brett Phillips collected the third and final multi-hit game for the Sox going 2-for-4 with an RBI. He’s fourth in the PCL with 27 RBI.

Lewis Brinson went 1-for-3 with a double and walk.

Kyle Wren reached base twice thanks to a triple and fielder’s choice. He scored two of the four runs and extended his hitting streak to six games.

Tyler Heineman went 1-for-4 with a single.

Paolo Espino continues to hold the Sky Sox batting average and picked up another knock last night, HIS FIRST CAREER DOUBLE! It came in the second inning with two down. He’s hitting .500 on the season (4-for-8)

Pitching Notes – 

Paolo Espino knows how to pitch, he uses the elements to his favor and worked another five and one-third innings of scoreless baseball. He scattered three hits, walked two, and struck out six on 89 pitches, 52 of which went for strikes. He earned the win improving to 4-0 and shrinking his ERA to 2.54 and is now 3-0 with a 2.67 ERA in five home starts.

Tristan Archer returned to form with two and two-third scoreless innings. He allowed two baserunners on a hit and a hit batter and struck out a pair. Twenty-two of his thirty pitches went for strikes.

Michael Blazek seemed to face the most difficulty and gave up a run on three hits in the ninth.

Play of the Game – 

The true play of the game was Garrett Cooper’s two-run double in the first, or one of the three double plays the Sox turned behind Espino, but the only video we have is of Ryan Cordell’s RBI single in the third. Enjoy!

Pregame Interview with Dan Karcher and Sky Sox Manager Rick Sweet – 

The pitchers didn’t disappoint one bit in yesterday’s contest and on paper it seems as though we should expect more of the same from tonight’s starters…On to the preview!

Colorado Springs Sky Sox (21-9) vs. Sacramento River Cats (13-21) – 6:00 p.m.

Game Notes / Listen Live at 5:30 p.m.

RHP Brandon Woodruff (5-0, 1.83) vs. RHP Joan Gregorio (1-2, 1.87)

Sky Sox Starter: Brandon Woodruff readies for his seventh start of the season, fifth at home, when he climbs the hill against the River Cats this evening at Security Service field. He remains unbeaten after six starts with a 1.83 ERA. He faced the Grizzlies his last trip to the mound and did nothing but hurl six shutout innings and scatter three hits. In total he has allowed 9 runs (7 earned) on 26 hits, he has walked 7, struck out 30 and given up two homers. Woodruff has shown great command, held opponents to a .210 batting average against and has a 1.09 ground out to air out ratio. He has yet to face Sacramento in his career and is 4-0 with a 1.54 ERA at the friendly confines of SSF. (Who says you can’t pitch here???)

The righty had 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. Drafted by the Brewers in the 11th round of the 2014 draft out of Mississippi State, Woodruff has compiled a career record of 24-18 with a 2.92 ERA. He is rated as the 7th best prospect and the labeled as the pitcher with the best fastball in the Brewers organization.

Last Time Out – May 7 – Win vs. Fresno

Woodruff went six scoreless innings, scattered three hits, walked one and struck out seven Grizz. Fifty eight of his eighty seven pitches went for strikes. He retired the side in order in the first, faced the minimum in the third and finished his outing retiring 10 of the final 11 batters he faced.

River Cats Starting Arm: Righty Joan Gregorio is slated to make the seventh start of his season when he climbs the Security Service Field mound tonight. He enters 1-2 with a minuscule 1.87 ERA and has limited opponents to 11 runs, 7 earned, on 23 hits in 33 2/3 innings. The opposition is hitting .198 against the 25-year old right from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Four of his six starts have been at Raley Field, home of the River Cats, while he is 0-1 with a 0.79 ERA in two road starts. He faced the Sox one time last season, but did not record a decision allowing a run on two hits, walking three and striking out eight in the May 23 contest. Sac-town won 4-2.

He was signed by the Giants as an International Free Agent in March of 2010 and has progressed levels each season since. He went 6-8 with a 5.28 ERA in 21 starts with Sacramento a year ago and combined to go 6-10 with a 4.69 ERA between Double and Triple-A. In 144 minor-league games (113 starts) the 6’7 righty has compiled a 36-36 record with a 3.88 ERA in 607 2/3 innings.

Last Time Out – May 7 – No decision vs. Reno 

Gregorio worked six innings for the third time this season and allowed a run on three hits by the Aces. One of the three knocks was a solo homer off the bat of Hank Conger in the fifth. He walked four and struck out three on 85 pitches, 54 that went for strikes. Sacramento lost 6-5.

Lineups

Dan Karcher (@SkySoxKarch) continues his 28th season behind the mic for Sky Sox games, he and I will have the call of today’s game from Security Service Field at 6:00 p.m. Sky Sox Warmup will get fired up at 5:30 p.m. MDT on XTRA Sports 1300.

Thanks for reading – See you on the radio,

@Dan_Acheson

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