The Colorado Springs Sky Sox earned a hard-fought victory in the series opener, defeating the Memphis Redbirds, 4-3, in front of 4,566 at Security Service Field Friday night.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis opened the scoring for the Sky Sox (79-55), grounding a RBI single under the glove of Rangel Ravelo at first base to plate Quintin Berry after leading off the third inning with a double. Batting in the cleanup spot for the first time this season, Nieuwenhuis reached base three times with a run and two walks.
Making his first Triple-A appearance since his call-up from Class-A Advanced Carolina, Lucas Erceg recorded his first hit with the Sky Sox on a towering RBI double over the head of Jordan Schafer in center field to score Mauricio Dubon and cut the deficit to 3-2 after four innings.
Colorado Springs broke through and took their first lead with a two-run seventh inning. A pair of Josh Zeid wild pitches with two outs allowed Nate Orf to tie the game. During the same at-bat, Rene Garcia launched a RBI double to center field to score Nieuwenhuis and put the hosts ahead, 4-3.
RHP Bubba Derby took a no-decision for the Sox, but held the Redbirds offense to three runs while striking out five Memphis batters in five innings of work. LHP Andrew Barbosa (7-2, 5.12) struck out five men of his own in 2 1/3 scoreless innings, while Tim Dillard and Wily Peralta (S, 2.93) combined to shut down the Redbirds over the final 1 2/3 innings.
The Sox and Redbirds continue their four-game series Saturday night at 6 p.m. MT. RHP Hiram Burgos (2-5, 7.34 ERA) squares off with RHP Kevin Herget (4-2, 4.01 ERA). The primetime showdown is SkyFest 2017, presented by CenturyLink. The theme of the season's largest fireworks show is Jusstice League, with some of your favorite characters making an appearance at Security Service Field.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.