Sox Scribbles: Heavyweight Fight Goes to Sox, 3-1 Over Dodgers…First-Place Sox Open Homestand vs. Express Tonight


Andy Oliver is slated to make his first start of the season tonight at Security Service Field. (Bobby Stevens/MiLB)

Sunday’s 3-1 game was a heavyweight bout. The whole series was pretty epic, if we’re being honest, but man, when the Sky Sox use seven pitchers and the Dodgers go to pinch-hitter after pinch-hitter in an attempt to win the series finale, you know it was a good one, and even better since the Sky Sox finished on the right side of it.

As per usual the game began with zeros and a whole bunch of them. Josh Hader and Justin Masterson went for their respective clubs and did not disappoint. Even when Hader completed his two innings, Taylor Jungmann took over and didn’t miss a beat.

Colorado Springs had the best of the early opportunities and loaded the bases in the first, but couldn’t produce a run. Hader completed two scoreless and Jungmann went the next four in scoreless fashion, while Masterson settled in and went six scoreless. The Sox were able to jump on the board with a lone run in the seven thanks to an RBI double off the bat of Tyler Heineman. Nate Orf scored, then delivered a two-run single in the top of the eighth to give the Sox a 3-0 advantage. OKC certainly didn’t make it easy and scratched a run across on a throwing error, single and ground out to make it 3-1.

Then came the ninth. The Sky Sox had a chance to add some insurance as the Dodgers intentionally walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases, but Rene Garcia grounded out to end the inning. In the bottom half, Tristan Archer gave up a single, was greatly aided by an outstanding play at third by Gabriel Noriega, gave up another single and got a foul pop for out number two beofre his outing ended. Andrew Barbosa was next out of the pen and got Willie Calhoun to ground out to end the game. What. A. Game. Just unreal. The Sox win not only guaranteed them a 3-1 series win, but also a 5-4 road trip win.

Game Story Here

Hitting Notes – 

The Sky Sox picked up three runs on five hits, and only tallied one multi-hit game.

Nate Orf led the offensive charge with the multi-hit game going 2-for-3 and having a role in all three runs. He scored the first run of the game in the seventh and drove in the other two with a single in the eighth. Nice little day for Orf.

Tyler Heineman put the Sox on the board with an RBI double in the seventh, his lone hit and the Sox only extra-base hit of the game.

Brett Phillips and Kyle Wren had the other two hits for the Sox, both singles.

Pitching Notes – 

How good were the arms yesterday?! Really good. That’s how good. Really. Good. The Sky Sox used seven pitchers to get 27 outs and secure the win.

Josh Hader took the mound and delivered two scorless innings for the second straight outing. He went the two and allowed a hit, walked one and struck out four Dodgers. Not too bad!

Taylor Jungmann earned the win out of the pen and it wasn’t one of those vultured wins, it was legit. He went innings three through six and struck out EIGHT while allowing a hit and walking two. He earned his first win with the Sox this season for his efforts. His curveball is locked in right now.

Stephen Kohlscheen pitched a scoreless seventh and walked one while fanning a pair.

Wei-Chung Wang has been a workhorse out of the ‘pen for the Sox and was called upon in the eighth. He should have had a clean outing but an error behind him began the wheels for OKC. He gave up a hit and an unearned while recording one out.

David Goforth recorded two outs in his outing that was cut short due to Rick Sweet pinch hitting for him in the ninth.

Tristan Archer picked up the first two outs of the ninth, but gave up two hits.

Andrew Barbosa locked down the two-pitch, one-out save, his first of the year.

Play of the Game – 

Nate Orf’s two-run single was the difference and most-certainly our play of the game!

Pregame Interview with Dan Karcher and Dodgers Manager Bill Haselman – 

The Sky Sox are home! Woohoo! For a week-long stint that will see the Sox play eight games in seven days, thanks to a doubleheader on Saturday. The first half of the homestand is against the Round Rock Express, the Rangers top affiliate, and the second half against the Iowa Cubs. Let’s get to the game one preview!

Colorado Springs Sky Sox (32-21) at Round Rock Express (27-30) – 6:40 p.m.

Game Notes / Listen Live at 6:00 p.m.

Pitching Probables: LHP Andy Oliver (0-0, 9.00) vs. RHP Clayton Blackburn (0-0, 3.21)

Sky Sox Starter: Left-hander Andy Oliver gets the spot start for Colorado Springs in the homestand opener tonight against the Express. It was originally slated to be Paolo Espino, but due to Matt Garza suffering a bruised chest in his last start things are on hold. Oliver has made 11 bullpen appearances with the Sky Sox and has no record along with a 9.00 ERA. He has given up 15 runs (14 earned) on 21 hits in 14 innings. His longest outing was 2 1/3 innings against Oklahoma City on May 2nd. Today will be his first appearance against the Express.

Oliver was originally selected by the Tigers in the second round of the 2009 draft and has pitched for the Tigers, Pirates, Rays, Orioles and now Brewers organizations. In eight professional seasons, Oliver has accumulated a 37-41 record with 14 saves and a 4.08 ERA in 243 games, 106 starts. In seven MLB games with the Tigers he is 0-5 with a 7.11 ERA.

Last Time Out – May 24 – Relief appearance vs. New Orleans  – 

Oliver worked an inning and gave up a solo homer while walking another Baby Cakes batter on May 24. He threw 17 pitches, eight of which went for strikes.

Express Starting Arm: Righty Clayton Blackburn has had a hectic start to his 2017 campaign and comes to the Springs with no record and a 3.21 ERA in four PCL starts with two teams. He began with Sacramento, but was DFA’d by the Giants and traded to the Rangers in early April. He then pitched two outings for the Express before going on the disabled list and not pitching for a month. All three of his starts with Round Rock have been scoreless across 11 innings, whereas his season opener with the River Cats was three innings in which he gave up five earned runs on six hits. He’s been in the PCL in each of his last three seasons and has faced the Sky Sox twice and is 1-0, allowing two runs on seven hits in 9 2/3 innings.

Blackburn hails from Amarillo, Texas and was selected by the Giants in the 16th round of the 2011 draft out of Edmond Sante Fe in Edmond, Oklahoma. The righty is in his seventh season in professional baseball and with his second organization. He has compiled a 40-31 record with a 3.24 ERA in 129 appearances, 118 of which have been in the starting role. He has yet to make his MLB debut.

Last Time Out – May 30 – No Decision at Omaha  – 

Blackburn went four innings in his return from the disabled list and kept the Storm Chasers off the board on one hit. He hit a batter, walked one and struck out four on 54 pitches, 34 of which went for strikes.


Dan Karcher (@SkySoxKarch) continues his 28th season behind the mic for Sky Sox games, he will have the call of today’s game from Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark beginning at 6:40 p.m. I will get Sky Sox Warmup fired up at 6:00 p.m. MDT on XTRA Sports 1300.

Thanks for reading – See you on the radio,


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