There is the possibility that Colorado Springs and Memphis could play nine straight against one another over a 10-day span and if Friday night’s game was a sign of things to come, then buckle up because it’s going to be a fun stretch. The Sky Sox fell behind early, but battled back to take the lead in the seventh and locked it down late for the 4-3 win. Round one to the good guys.
Bubba Derby took the mound for his final regular season tune-up and was greeted by two bombs in the top of the first. Nine pitches deep into the game Aledmys Diaz took a pitch and snuck it over the wall in right field for a leadoff solo homer and three batters later, Tyler O’Neill hammered a Derby delivery down the line in left for another solo blast, 2-0 Memphis.
Ryan Helsley made his Triple-A debut and the 23-year old impressed. He went out with the lead and turned in two scoreless frames on the bump, then stepped to the plate in the third. Helsley smacked an opposite field double to the wall in right to begin the innings, his first knock as a professional. Valera singled him to third and Rangel Ravelo drove him in to up the lead to 3-0.
The Sky Sox offense went to work in the bottom of the third and started the march on the comeback trail. Quintin Berry smacked a leadoff double and scored on Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ single to right, 3-1. Another run crossed the plate against Helsley in the fourth when he walked Mauricio Dubon and Lucas Erceg tagged a double against him, pulling the Sox to within one at 3-2. The two-bagger for Erceg was his first Triple-A knock as he made his debut after being called up from High-A Carolina.
Derby settled in and finished by keeping the Redbirds off the board in the fourth and fifth innings before the bullpen took over for the second half, and they were near perfect again. Andrew Barbosa was first out of the ‘pen and allowed a walk in the sixth and seventh innings, but nothing more.
Colorado Springs still trailed 3-2 heading to the home-half of the seventh, but turned it around in the inning. Kyle Wren began the inning with a single, but was gunned down at the plate trying to score from second on a single to right off the bat of Nate Orf. Orf took second on the throw home, landed at third thanks to a Josh Zeid wild pitch and scored on another wild one by the pitcher, tie game. Nieuwenhuis walked and was in scoring position for Rene Garcia who unloaded on a pitch to straightaway center for a go-ahead, RBI double, 4-3 Sox.
Barbosa entered the eighth inning, walked a man and struck out another before he was lifted for Tim Dillard. The side-slinging righty retired the two men he faced to end the eighth and Wily Peralta came on for the ninth and locked down his fourth professional save with a 1-2-3 inning. Ballgame.
Hitting Notes –
The Sox picked up four runs on 11 hits in the series opener and witnessed another big night from their rabbits, Kyle Wren and Nate Orf, who combined for five hits.
Nate Orf went 3-for-4 with a double and run scored. He has his average up to .319 and picked up another outfield assist, his sixth of the season.
Kyle Wren went 2-for-5 and had the other multi-hit game for the Sox.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis reached base three times thanks to an RBI single and two walks.
Rene Garcia had an RBI double for his lone knock.
Lucas Erceg made his Triple-A debut and smacked an RBI double to the wall in center. He has not played above High-A in his career, prior to Friday.
Quintin Berry doubled and scored a run.
Mauricio Dubon singled and scored a run.
Bubba Derby singled to help his own cause.
Yadiel Rivera reached base twice on walks.
Pitching Notes –
Bubba Derby worked the first five innings in his final start of the regular season. He allowed three runs on nine hits, walked one and struck out five on 96 pitches, 63 of which went for strikes.
Andrew Barbosa recorded seven outs without allowing a hit. He walked three and fanned five en route to his seventh win of the year.
Tim Dillard, fresh from Helena, picked up two outs in perfect fashion.
Wily Peralta pitched a perfect ninth and recorded his fourth professional save in six chances and his first since June 2009 with Wisconsin. He doesn’t have any saves or opportunities in the big leagues.
Play of the Game –
Rene Garcia’s RBI double to the wall in center that gave the Sky Sox the lead they wouldn’t relinquish is our play of the game. For those looking for something other than a block of words, here’s Tyler O’Neill’s solo homer from the first.
Pregame Interview with Dan Acheson and Cris Jones, part 3 –
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (79-55) at Memphis Redbirds (89-49) – 6:00 p.m.
Sky Sox Starter: Hiram Burgos will make his second start with the Sox since returning from the Double-A Biloxi. He enters play with a 2-5 record and a 7.34 ERA through 12 appearances, 11 starts with Colorado Springs and 2-0 with a 2.29 ERA in five games, three starts with Biloxi. He has given up 38 runs, 34 earned on 63 hits, 10 homers and two hit batters in the PCL He’s walked 12 and fanned 39, while opponents are hitting .352 against him. His two wins have come against Fresno and Iowa. The righty is a well rounded veteran pitcher that throws strikes and has a very good curve ball. He will face the Redbirds for the second time this season after facing them on April 18 and going five outs in relief.
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 175 minor-league appearances, 149 starts, to the tune of a 51-52 record with a 3.97 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 – August 17 – Loss vs. Iowa –
Burgos went the first three and two-third innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits to the Cubs. He walked one and fanned six on 64 total pitches, 40 of which went for strikes.
Redbirds Starting Arm: Memphis will counter with righty Kevin Herget in the second of the four-game set at Security Service Field. He enters 5-4 with a 3.48 ERA in 34 games, eight starts across Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis. With the Redbirds he is 4-2 with a 4.01 ERA in 21 games, eight starts. He’s allowed 29 runs (26 earned) on 59 hits, six bombs, hit two batters, walked 20 and struck out 58 in 58 1/3 innings. Opponents are hitting .262 against the righty from Teaneck, New Jersey. Seven of his last eight outings have been starts. The Sky Sox have seen Herget as a reliever twice, once in the Springs and once in the Bluff City. He has allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits in four innings. Lewis Brinson and Ivan De Jesus have taken him deep this season.
Herget was selected by the Cardinals in the 39th round of the 2013 draft out of Kean University. In five pro seasons he has accumulated a 30-9 record with 32 saves and a 2.77 ERA over 181 games, 17 starts. He has yet to make his MLB debut.
Last Time Out – August 28 – No decision vs. Iowa –
Herget worked into the sixth and limited the Cubs to a run on seven hits across five and one-third innings. He walked two and struck out eight on 93 pitches, 62 strikes. Jacob Hanneman took him deep for the Iowa run.
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 at 5:30 p.m. Sky Sox Warmup will get fired up at 6:00 p.m. MDT on XTRA Sports 1300.
Thanks for reading – See you on the radio,