For the first time in twenty years, the Sky Sox lost a playoff game. Yes, it was the first playoff game in 20 years, but that’s beside the point. The Memphis Redbirds powered up and hit three homers, which accounted for all of their runs, in the 4-1 game one win Wednesday night at AutoZone Park.
Veteran right Taylor Jungmann and rookie righty Dakota Hudson made up the pitching matchup for the Sox and Redbirds, and it started a little shaky. The Sox picked up two, one-out baserunners in the first inning, but Hudson battled back to strike out the final two men of the inning. Jungmann wasn’t so lucky in the bottom half. He picked up two quick outs, but hung a pitch over the inner half to Tyler O’Neill and he crushed it over the wall in left-center for a solo shot, 1-0 Memphis.
The Sky Sox would draw even in the third against Hudson. Kyle Wren sparked the rally with a leadoff walk, scooted to second on a stolen base, third on a ground out and scored on a Nate Orf single. After that, it was nothing but zeroes on the board from the right-hander.
The same could not be said for Taylor Jungmann. With the game tied in the bottom of the fourth, Aledmys Diaz stepped to the plate with a runner on and crushed a two-run homer to left, 3-1 Memphis. Up he came in the sixth and did it again, this time a solo shot to left-center, 4-1.
That would be the final score and with little drama coming from the Sox bats. Hudson went the first six and allowed the one run on five hits, Mike Mayers went the next two and didn’t allow a hit, paving the way for Mark Montgomery in the ninth. He recorded two outs, but gave up back-to-back singles to Tyler Heineman and Mauricio Dubon and upped stepped Yadiel Rivera as the game’s tying run. The idea would be short lived as Rivera hit a 5-4 groundout to end the game.
Quick Hits…The Sox scored a run on seven hits, all singles, in the first game against Memphis…Nate Orf picked up the RBI knock and Kyle Wren scored the run…Johnny Davis made his Triple-A debut and went 1-for-4…Colabello, Heineman, Wren, Dubon, and Rivera had the other knocks for the Sky Sox…Taylor Jungmann went the first six innings and allowed four runs on four extra-base hits, three homers and a double…He walked two and fanned four…Tyler Cravy took over and finished the game with two scoreless…
Play of the Game –
Pick a homer, any homer… We’ll go with the first of the two from Diaz…
Pregame Interviews with Dan Karcher and Sky Sox Manager Rick Sweet and Memphis Manager Stubby Clapp…
IT’S TIME FOR PLAYOFF BASEBALL!!!! LET’S GOOOOOOO!!!!
TALE OF THE TAPE: The Sox and ‘Birds met 16 times in 2017 and guess what they split, with each side taking eight games. The Sox went 3-5 in Memphis and 5-3 at Security Service Field. The Sox outscored the Redbirds 89-78 in the 16 games and had a team average of .285 and ERA of 4.50. Memphis hit .260 and had a team ERA of 5.36 against Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (0-1, 80-57) at Memphis Redbirds (1-0, 91-50) – 6:05 p.m.
Game Notes / Listen Live at 5:30 p.m.
Pitching Probables: RHP Aaron Wilkerson (11-4, 3.16 w/AA) at RHP Kevin Herget (4-2, 4.62 w/MEM)
Sky Sox Starter: RHP Aaron Wilkerson joins the Sky Sox roster for the postseason and gets ready to make his season debut with the team in game two of the American Conference Championship. Wilkerson spent all of 2017 with Double-A Biloxi and went 11-4 with a 3.16 ERA in 24 starts. He allowed 54 runs on 117 hits in 142.1 innings, while allowing 12 homers, hitting two batters, walking 36 and fanning 143 opposing hitters. Southern League opponents hit .228 against him. He was traded from the Red Sox to the Brewers in a deal for Aaron Hill July 7, 2016. He reported to the Sky Sox and proceeded to go 2-6 with a 6.42 ERA in 11 starts. He did not face the Redbirds.
Wilkerson went undrafted out of Cumberland (TN) University and played in the Independent leagues in 2013-14 before the Red Sox purchased his contract and traded him to Milwaukee last season. In 89 professional games the righty is 35-17 with a 3.16 ERA, between the Red Sox and Brewers.
Last Time Out – August 31 – Win at Mobile –
Wilkerson earned the win in his regular season finale by going six innings and limiting the BayBears to two runs on five hits. He gave up one walk and fanned six on 99 pitches, 63 of which went for strikes.
Redbirds Starting Arm: Memphis will counter with righty Kevin Herget in the second of the best-of-five set at AutoZone Park. He finished the regular season 5-4 with a 3.97 ERA in 35 games, nine starts across Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis. With the Redbirds he went 4-2 with a 4.62 ERA in 22 games, nine starts. He allowed 35 runs (32 earned) on 68 hits, seven bombs, hit three batters, walked 21 and struck out 60 in 62 1/3 innings. PCL opponents hit .280 against the righty from Teaneck, New Jersey. Eight of his last nine outings have been starts. The Sky Sox have seen Herget as a reliever twice, once in the Springs and once in the Bluff City, and once as a starter, Saturday at Security Service Field. He has allowed 10 runs (9 earned) on 15 hits in eight innings. Lewis Brinson, Ivan De Jesus, and Tyler Cravy 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 2.89 ERA over 182 games, 18 starts. He has yet to make his MLB debut.
Last Time Out – September 2 – No decision Iowa –
Herget faced the Sox and made it through the first four innings, but was tagged for six runs on nine hits. One of the knocks was a two-run homer off the bat of Tyler Cravy. He hit a batter, walked one and fanned two on 87 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 AutoZone Park at 6:05 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,