The Sox trailed 4-1 with six offensive outs remaining and it seemed as though they were destined for a loss and a series split. But then, the wheels started churning in the eighth and the Sox tied it with a three run inning. They kept it tied with a scoreless bottom of the frame and took the lead with a sac fly in the ninth, while slamming the door in the bottom half, winning 5-4. The remarkable season for Colorado Springs continues as they improved to 51-31 and took 8-of-9 against Omaha during this nine game stretch.
The matchup began as a pitcher’s duel between the Sox’s right-hander Bubba Derby and Omaha’s southpaw Eric Skoglund and it was FLYING by…I’m talking tied 1-1 after five innings in about one hour and fifteen minutes!
Omaha jumped on the board in the third with a solo homer by Raul Mondesi and made it 1-0. It was the second time this week he took Derby deep. Colorado Springs bounced back in the fourth on an RBI single off the bat of Jett Bandy which scored Brett Phillips and tied the game.
Skoglund lasted the first five innings and was outstanding, limited the Sox to a run on five hits while striking out eight. Josh Staumont took over for him in the sixth, a momentum changing inning. Staumont retired the first man he faced, but walked the next three, putting Bandy at the plate with the sacks packed and one out. Staumont battled through it and induced an inning-ending double play to end the threat and kept the game tied.
Omaha’s bats came back in the bottom half of the sixth and got the leadoff man on thanks to a leadoff walk by Derby. Mondesi then stole second and was sitting there with two out when Tyler Cravy relieved the starter. Cravy was greeted by a Cam Gallagher RBI single and a Frank Schwindel RBI double and the score elevated in favor of Omaha, 3-1. A Mondesi sac-fly in the seventh made it 4-1 Chasers.
That’s when the scoring picked up for the Sox. Brett Phillips and Garrett Cooper began the eighth with walks and moved to third and second, on a wild pitch with Kirk Nieuwenhuis at the plate. The right fielder ripped a double down the line in right that scored two and pulled the Sox to within one. He then scored on a Nate Orf sac-fly and tied it up. Phillips and Nieuwenhuis were at it again in the ninth as the former singled and scored a few batters later on Nieuwenhuis’ sac-fly, 5-4.
David Goforth was called upon for two innings of relief, fired off 42 pitches, and earned his first win of the season as he closed the ballgame in scoreless fashion. No doubt he earned that win, and what a gritty win it was.
Hitting Notes –
It certainly wasn’t the flashiest of wins for the Sox, but maybe one of their most important. They had both Lewis Brinson and Ivan De Jesus on the bench to start the game and trailed by three in the eighth. Still, they managed the one-run win and won the series three games to one. They scored the 5 runs on nine hits and had two multi-hit games from their lineup.
Brett Phillips did it all from the three-hole as he racked up three hits and a walk and scored three of the five runs, including the game-winner in the top of the ninth.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis went 1-for-3, scored a run, and added three RBI, the two-run double in the eighth and the run-producing sac-fly in the ninth. Not too shabby.
Jett Bandy picked up the other multi-hit affair with two knocks and an RBI.
Nick Noonan went 1-for-4 with a double.
Kyle Wren and Andrew Susac each had a hit.
Garrett Cooper scored a run and walked three times.
Pitching Notes –
Bubba Derby wasn’t the scheduled starter, but the Brewers called up Michael Blazek, thus Derby was called upon in the spot situation and flourished once again. He went the first five and two-third innings and limited the Chasers to two runs on three hits, two walks, and struck out six on 79 pitches, 49 of which went for strikes.
Tyler Cravy was the first arm out of the pen and recorded four outs, giving up two runs on five hits and striking out one.
David Goforth logged the final two innings in scoreless fashion on two hits, striking out three. He threw a season high 42 pitches, 26 went for strikes.
Play of the Game –
Tying run at second in the form of the speedster Terrance Gore, one out. Goforth battles back to get Mondesi to fly out to right and Bubba Starling to strike out to end the game. Boom play of the game right there.
Pregame Interview with Dan Karcher and Lewis Brinson (can’t miss) –
The Sox and Chasers get ready for…Oh wait, bad habit, I am sorry. After a nine game stretch the Colorado Springs and Omaha are DONE with one another…for a couple of weeks at least…Anywho the Sox welcome in the Nashville Sounds for a four-game, three-day series starting tonight, July 4th! Let’s get to the preview of the first contest!
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (51-31) vs. Nashville Sounds (40-43) – 7:00 p.m.
Sky Sox Starter: Hiram Burgos will make his first start since going on the disabled list with a toe injury on May 28. He injured the digit one batter into the game on May 27 against the Sounds in Music City, trying to pick off Jaycob Brugman at first base. He enters play not having pitched for over a month with a 2-4 record and a 6.21 ERA through nine appearances, eight starts. He has given up 26 runs, 23 earned on 47 hits, five homers and a hit batter. He’s walked ten and fanned 29, while opponents are hitting .338 against him. His two wins have come against Fresno and Iowa. The righty is a well rounded veteran pitcher that throws strikes, has a very good curve ball and any team would be so lucky to have him on the roster. Two of his nine outings have come against Nashville, his former team. He’s 0-1 allowing two runs on four hits and striking out three in 5-plus frames. He lost the game he injured his toe in.
He is in 9th season in professional baseball, all of which have been in the Milwaukee system. Last season he notched 10 wins, which marked the first time a Sky Sox pitcher got to double digit wins since Alan Johnson won 10 in 2010. He was also proficient at picking runners off of first base, nabbing 13…13! pickoffs in his 27 appearances. He was selected by the Brewers in the 6th round of the 2009 draft out of Bethune-Cookman University and has made 167 minor-league appearances, 143 starts, to the tune of a 49-51 record with a 3.93 ERA and 6 MLB starts in which he has gone 1-2 with a 6.44 ERA. He has not pitched in the big leagues since 2013.
Last Time Out – May 27 – Loss at Nashville –
Burgos threw four pitches in his last outing before landing on the disabled list with a toe injury. He gave up a hit to the leadoff man Jaycob Brugman and that was all. Brugman scored and the Sox couldn’t come back and thus the righty was stuck with the L.
Sounds Starting Arm: Righty Chris Jensen is slated to take the mound for the Sounds tonight in the opener of the four-game set. Jensen has worked exclusively out of the bullpen and readied for the first start of his season tonight. He has made 18 appearances and is 4-0 with a 3.62 ERA in the PCL and 4-0 with a 3.38 ERA in 20 outings this season, two came out of the Stockton bullpen. Through 37 1/3 PCL frames he’s yielded 17 runs, 15 earned, on 34 hits, three homers, three hit batters, 12 walks and 29 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting .233 against the Gilbert, AZ native. He has tossed four and two-third scoreless, hitless in two outings against Colorado Springs this season, both have been at First Tennessee Park. He did take the loss against the Sox on July 26, 2016 in Music City and was roughed up for four runs on six hits in five innings.
Jensen was originally selected by the Rockies in the sixth round of the 2011 draft out of the University of San Diego. The righty was traded to the A’s along with Drew Pomeranz in exchange for lefty Brett Anderson in December of 2013. In six-plus professional seasons he is 53-40 with a save and a 4.17 ERA in 162 games, 141 of which have been starts.
Last Time Out – June 28 – Win in relief vs. Round Rock –
Jensen worked three and one-third innings and allowed five runs on seven hits, walked two and struck out one, but earned the win! He threw 68 pitches, 36 went for strikes. He’s allowed 11 runs, 9 earned, on 14 hits in his last 6 1/3 innings.
Dan Karcher (@SkySoxKarch) continues his 28th season behind the mic for Sky Sox games, he and I will have the call of tonight’s game from Security Service Field beginning at 7:00 p.m. Sky Sox Warmup gets fired up at 6:30 p.m. MDT on XTRA Sports 1300.
Thanks for reading – See you on the radio,