If you score eight unanswered to open up the game, you better win that game. And although it was a little precarious there in the late frames, the Sky Sox did indeed lock down the 8-5 win in the opener of the four-game series against the Baby Cakes. The win marks Colorado Springs’ fourth in a row and 20th road win of the season.
Before Angel Ventura could climb the hill, he was staked to a 5-0 lead! All of the runs came with two down in the top of the first. Brett Phillips opened the attack with an RBI single, then Ivan De Jesus followed with an RBI knock to make it 2-0. Adam Conley uncorked a wild one to make it 3-0 and Rene Garcia capped off the frame with a two-run homer, his third of the year.
The Sox weren’t done scoring early and often and plated another three runs with two down in the third inning. Garrett Cooper singled and Phillips doubled to put two on in scoring position. Two batters later it was again Rene Garcia that chipped in, this time with a two-run single which made it 7-0 Sox. Conley walked Yadiel Rivera, gave up a single to Ventura and walked Kirk Nieuwenhuis to bring home the eighth run of the game. 8-0 after two and a half innings. You better win that game.
Ventura bent, but didn’t break and allowed the Cakes to score two runs on a double and a ground out in the bottom of the third. New Orleans came back with another run in the fifth on a Moises Sierra single which shaved the lead to 8-3. The right-hander was done after five innings and the Sox bullpen would be called upon for the final four frames.
Tom Wilhelmson entered the fray and made his Sky Sox debut in the bottom of the sixth. He retired the first two batters he faced, but an error on Nate Orf extended the inning and New Orleans took advantage. Ramon Cabrera singled and moved the runner to third, then both scored on Chad Hinshaw’s double to left, which made it a 8-5 game. Steve Lombardozzi singled to bring the tying run to the plate and also ended Wilhelmson’s debut. Tomas Telis stepped in against Stephen Kohlscheen and flied out to left to end the threat.
From that point forward the Sox and Cakes’ pitching was solid. New Orleans would get the tying run to the plate with two out in the bottom of the ninth, but KC Serna grounded out to end the game against David Goforth.
Hitting Notes –
For the second straight game the Sky Sox were outhit, but it didn’t matter. They scored their eight runs on nine hits, while the Baby Cakes got five runs on 13 hits. The Sox players had a multi-hit game.
Rene Garcia was our star of the night with a pair of hits and four RBI. His two-run homer in the first and two-run single in the third were most certainly the difference in the game. He’s boosted his average up to .315 and has three homers and 15 RBI with the team. He also scored two runs.
Brett Phillips went 2-for-4 with a double, RBI and two runs scored. He’s now hitting .291 on the season.
Ivan De Jesus picked up the third multi-hit game for the Sox with a 2-for-4 performance. He scored a run and drove one in as well. He’s now hitting .332 for the Sox.
Ryan Cordell had a hit and run scored.
Garrett Cooper reached base twice with a hit and a walk. He also scored a run.
Angel Ventura picked up his first hit in professional baseball with a single in the third.
Pitching Notes –
Angel Ventura was solid again for the Sox and earned his second win in a row. He went the first five innings and allowed three runs on five hits. The righty walked three and fanned two on 86 pitches, 52 of which went for strikes.
Tom Wilhelmsen worked two-thirds of an inning and allowed two unearned runs to score on three hits while striking out one in his Sky Sox debut.
Stephen Kohlscheen was the MVP out of the pen and got seven huge outs in scoreless fashion. He scattered three hits, gave up a walk and struck out two.
David Goforth earned his fourth save with the Sky Sox and turned in a scoreless ninth, allowing two hits and striking out two.
Play of the Game –
Rene Garcia’s monster night – pick one either his homer or double! But of course there is no highlight of either 😦
Pregame Interview with Dan Karcher and Sky Sox Manager Rick Sweet –
With yesterday’s win, the Sky Sox have three wins in five games against the Marlins’ top affiliate. Tonight is round two…Let’s get to it!
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (42-28) vs. New Orleans Baby Cakes (26-46) – 6:00 p.m.
Sky Sox Starter: Right-hander Michael Blazek readies for his ninth start of the season, his eighth in a row, and first appearance against the Baby Cakes. The Las Vegas native has an 1-1 record and 3.26 ERA through his first 18 appearances of the season. He has given up 18 runs on 44 hits, walked 24 and fanned 45 in 49 2/3 innings. Opponents are hitting .237 against the righty. He has been very good in the starting role going 1-1 with a 2.97 ERA and enters play tonight looking to back up the second longest appearance of his career. He doesn’t hold a record on the road and has accrued a 2.10 ERA in 11 road outings. In 30 innings away from the Front Range, he’s allowed seven runs on 22 hits.
Originally selected by the Cardinals in the 37th round of the 2007 draft, Blazek has pitched for both the Cardinals and Brewers organizations. He is 40-43 with 15 saves and a 4.07 ERA in 235 minor league outings, 96 of which have been starts, and 8-5 with a 4.09 ERA in 104 MLB games.
Last Time Out – June 16 – Win vs. OKC –
Blazek turned in an outstanding performance against the Dodgers his last time out. He went seven and two-third innings and limited the potent lineup to two runs on five hits. He didn’t walk anyone (major key) and struck out five on 89 pitches, 62 of which went for strikes. It marked the second longest outing of his career, as he went eight full innings on September 3, 2010 in Single-A.
Baby Cakes Starting Arm: Righty Scott Copeland will oppose Blazek in the second game of the series tonight along the Gulf Shores. He is in his first season with the Marlins organization and enters 4-7 with a 5.97 ERA in 13 starts with the ‘Cakes. The righty has allowed 42 runs on 72 hits in 60 1/3 innings, while walking 30 and striking out 53. Opponents are hitting .298 against him. He tossed seven hitless innings against the Cubs on April 14, part of the ‘Cakes combined no-no. Tonight marks his second career start against Colorado Springs as he took the loss lasting two innings and allowing four runs on four hits in the Springs on May 26.
Copeland was originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 21st round of the 2010 draft out of Southern Mississippi and has pitched for the O’s, Blue Jays and now the Marlins. He was released by Baltimore in July 2012 and signed a couple of days later by Toronto. He made his MLB debut for the Blue Jays in 2015 and is 1-1 with a 6.46 ERA in five MLB games, three starts. In 164 MiLB games, 154 starts, Copeland has accrued a 56-59 record with a 4.15 ERA.
Last Time Out – June 16 – No Decison vs. Round Rock –
Copeland allowed four runs on six hits to the Express in six and two-third innings. He gave up a homer to Will Middlebrooks, walked a pair and fanned six on 106 pitches, 66 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 tonight’s game from the Shrine on Airline beginning at 6:00 p.m. I will get Sky Sox Warmup fired up at 5:30 p.m. MDT on XTRA Sports 1300.
Thanks for reading – See you on the radio,