Lengthy homestand finale? Early, long travel day? No problemo for the Sox as they scored three runs in the first and never looked back, winning 4-0 in the series opener over the Round Rock Express at Dell Diamond. The shutout is the eighth of the season turned in by the pitching staff, who matched a season-high with 15 strikeouts in the nine inning affair.
Mauricio Dubon jumpstarted the offense with a single on the first pitch against righty David Ledbetter in the first inning, Lewis Brinson followed with another single and Brett Phillips hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Dubon and making it 1-0. That would be all the Sox would need, HOWEVAH (Stephen A. Smith voice) Garrett Cooper CRUSHED a two-run shot to center and upped the lead to 3-0.
From there it was the Angel Ventura show. A one-two-three shutdown first inning. He pitched around a one out error in the second inning. Gave up a one-out single to Doug Bernier in the third, but got a double play to end the inning. On to the fourth where a two-out single went by the boards. In the fifth it was a one out double left stranded in scoring position and in the sixth back-to-back strikeouts began the inning and a pop out to short ended it.
Will Middlebrooks walked to lead off the seventh, but Ventura induced two fly ball outs before his start came to a close. Six and two-third shutout innings, three hits, a walk and EIGHT strikeouts. Some simple math shows that Ventura went the first 20 outs, leaving seven to get…He struck out eight, the team in total struck out 15…hmmmm…Yep, you got it. Tyler Cravy, Wei-Chung Wang and David Goforth were called upon for the final seven outs and got all of them via strikeouts. Two and one-third innings, zero hits, zero runs, two walks, seven strikeouts. Unreal.
The other run was accounted for on a Nick Noonan sacrifice fly in the sixth, 4-0 Sox.
Hitting Notes –
The Sox banged out four runs on eight hits, witch Cooper’s two-run shot doing the most damage. Two Sky Sox batters had a multi-hit game.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis went 2-for-4 with a double, one of two two-hit games for the Sox.
Kyle Wren tallied the other multi-hit game with two singles in four trips to the plate.
Garrett Cooper went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, walk and two runs scored. His average remains at .362, good enough for second in the league.
Mauricio Dubon and Lewis Brinson each picked up a single and scored a run.
Nate Orf doubled for the final hit in the order.
Pitching Notes –
Angel Ventura was outstanding again and turned in another scoreless performance. Six and two-third scoreless innings, three hits, a walk, and eight strikeouts on 99 pitches, 66 went for strikes. Combined with this last start against Omaha, Ventura has put together 14 straight scoreless inning. Unreal.
Tyler Cravy replaced Ventura and struck out two in his two-thirds of an inning, walking one.
Wei-Chung Wang went a full inning of work and struck out all three.
David Goforth wrapped it up with two strikeouts in the ninth.
15 Ks. Matching the season-high set against OKC at Security Service Field in June.
Play of the Game –
The all-star Garrett Cooper’s two-run blast in the first!
Pregame Interview with Dan Karcher and Garrett Cooper –
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (55-32) at Round Rock Express (39-49) – 5:05 p.m.
Sky Sox Starter: Right-hander Bubba Derby will make his fourth Triple-A start tonight in the second game of the series against the Express. He has earned the win in tow of his first three outings with the Sox this season. His last two starts have been against the Storm Chasers. In 18 games and two starts with Biloxi, Derby went 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA, allowing 16 runs on 40 hits in 50 innings. He has allowed four runs on 12 hits in 16.2 Triple-A innings.
Derby was selected by the Athletics in the sixth round of the 2015 draft out of San Diego State University and was acquired by the Brewers, along with catcher Jacob Nottingham, in the trade that sent Khris Davis to Oakland. In 61 MiLB outings, 40 starts, the righty is 11-15 with a 4.08 ERA.
Last Time Out – July 3 – No decision at Omaha –
Derby continued his great pitching with the Sox and tossed into the sixth inning of his last start against Omaha. He finished five and two-thirds, allowed two runs on three hits, walked a pair and fanned six in a game the Sox would win 5-4.
Express Starting Arm: Righty Tanner Scheppers gets the call for the Express in what will be the first start of his season. He enters 0-1 with a 4.18 ERA in 17 bullpen appearances, covering 23 2/3 innings. He’s allowed 11 runs on 30 hits, five homers, hit a batter, walked seven and fanned 16. Opponents are hitting .303 against the right-hander from Mission Viejo, California. He pitched an inning against the sox on June 7 and gave up a run on two hits.
Scheppers has been with Texas the entirety of his career and has compiled a 6-9 record with 22 saves and a 4.00 ERA in 140 MiLB games, 12 of which have been starts. In 180 MLB games, he’s 12-7 with three saves and a 4.23 ERA.
Last Time Out – July 4 – Bullpen appearance vs. Memphis –
Scheppers went 2 1/3 scoreless, allowing five hits, walking one and fanning two Redbirds on 42 pitches, 29 for strikes.
Dan Karcher (@SkySoxKarch) continues his 28th season behind the mic for Sky Sox games, he will have the call of tonight game from Dell Diamond beginning at 5:05 p.m. I will get Sky Sox Warmup fired up at 4:30 p.m. MDT on XTRA Sports 1300.
Thanks for reading – See you on the radio,