Friday, August 24, 2018 vs. Oklahoma City Dodgers (LAD)
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (68-59) | Oklahoma City Dodgers (68-60)
SKY SOX PULL INTO FIRST PLACE WITH 6-5 WIN OVER DODGERS
Late Offense and Clutch Defense Earns Seventh Straight Win For Sky Sox
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The Sky Sox took sole advantage of first place in the American North by half a game after a 6-5 nail-biter victory against the Oklahoma City Dodgers Friday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, marking the team's seventh straight win.
With home advantage, the Dodgers got things started early on in the bottom of the first inning. A one-out walk to Alex Verdugo started the frame's rhythm. On a strikeout swinging by Kyle Farmer for the second out, Verdugo safely advanced to third after stealing and moving up on a throwing error. Donovan Solano then manufactured the solo run on his two-out single to left field to take a 1-0 lead.
The Sky Sox struck back in the top of the second. After two quick consecutive outs on a strikeout by Domingo Santana and fly out by Clint Coulter, Jett Bandy came in the clutch with a solo home run to left to tie things up at 1-1.
After three consecutive scoreless frames, the Sky Sox shook things up in the top of the sixth, plating a go-ahead run to take a 2-1 lead. Tyler Saladino started things off after being hit by a pitch. With Rymer Liriano batting, Saladino successfully stole both second and third base. An eventual walk to Liriano led to a pitching change, pulling Dodgers' starter Zach Neal and a wild pitch by reliever Josh Sborz to his first batter allowed Saladino to score.
In the bottom half, Oklahoma City found their rhythm on Sky Sox arm Brandon Woodruff. The Dodgers knocked three consecutive hits, including a double by Andrew Toles to tie the game at 2-2. With reliever Tristan Archer in for Woodruff and two on, his first batter seen, Kyle Garlick, singled to left to plate the go-ahead run. A double-play groundball in the next at-bat scored a fourth run for the Dodgers to give them a two-run advantage.
In the seventh, with their backs against the wall, the Sky Sox found another late rhythm after a one-out walk drew by Andres Blanco. A walk by Eric Sogard and Richie Shaffer base hit combined to load the bases with two outs to work with. After multiple defensive substitutions, Nate Orf's sacrifice fly ball to centerfield brought the team within one while a huge two out, two RBI double by Saladino put the Sky Sox up 5-4.
The Sky Sox plated an insurance run in the top of the eighth initiated on Santana's triple on a lined a ball to left field and past the glove of a diving Toles. Bandy's sacrifice fly ball to centerfield proved to be enough to bring in Santana from third to take a 6-4 lead.
After Colorado Springs stranded two runners in scoring position in the top half of the ninth, the Dodgers, chasing two, struck some luck with Edwin Rios reaching first base on a wild pitch after striking out swinging. After the next batter, Jake Peter, reached base on a bloop single to centerfield, representing the tying run, Tim Locastro drew a walk to load the bases. With southpaw Mike Zagurski into pitch for Jake Thompson, a chopped groundball by Alex Verdugo to first base and quick throw home by Blanco resulted in a stretch catch on a hop by Bandy and out at the plate. Kyle Farmer walked to cut the deficit within a run and a Solano groundball would end the tight matchup.
The Sky Sox continue into game two of the four-game set against the Dodgers tomorrow with a 6:05 p.m. MT first pitch. For all information on Sky Sox, follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and visit the team's website at www.skysox.com.
Tomorrow's Preview: In game two of Colorado Springs' final road trip of 2018 and this four-game series against the Dodgers in Oklahoma City, the Sky Sox are sending righty Paolo Espino to the mound to face off against fellow righty Daniel Corcino for the Dodgers.
Seven Straight: The Sky Sox marked their seventh straight win following Friday night's 6-5 victory. It is the Sky Sox longest winning streak since the 2007 season (May 7-13, 2007).
Back on Top: After spending the last 22 games under the Dodgers, the Sky Sox are back on top for the first time since July 17, holding sole possession of first place by half a game.
Will To Win: The Sky Sox, who entered Friday night with a 6-37 record when trailing after six innings, improved their record to seven wins with a three-run comeback in the top of the seventh to take a hold the lead for the eventual victory.
Third One-Run W: The Sky Sox completed their third one-run victory against the Dodgers this season in Friday night's 6-5 win. The team earned wins on back-to-back occasions on May 12 and May 13 with 2-1 and 4-3 wins respectively.
Orf Alert: The sacrifice fly by Nate Orf in the 7th inning on Friday in game one against Oklahoma City marked his seventh of this season. It was his 20th career regular season sacrifice fly, which ties Jim Tatum for the most in a career in Sky Sox history. Tatum has 20 total in his four-year stint with the Sky Sox (1993-1995, 1999). Tatum had none in 1993, but then collected 10 in 1994, two in 1995, and eight in 1999.
Sweet Makes Franchise History: With the two wins on Wednesday night, manager Rick Sweet's overall win count improved to 277 total overall with the Sky Sox, surpassing former manager Brad Mills' for most overall club wins as Sky Sox manager. After Friday's win, he is now at 278 wins overall.
The Hunt For First: The Sky Sox continue the hunt for their second-consecutive playoff run, battling it out with other top contender of the American North - the Oklahoma City Dodgers. Currently, the Sky Sox hold the half game lead over the Dodgers with 12 regular season games left in 2018. Last season, the Sky Sox broke one of the longest postseason droughts in professional sports - taking the American North division for the first time and breaking their 20-year absence.
Franchise Climb in Steals: The two stolen bases Friday for the Sky Sox gives them 157 stolen bases in the season, which marks the second highest amount of stolen bases in a season by a Sky Sox team. The single season record is 169 stolen bases, which happened during the 2009 season.
Yet Another Quality from Brooks: Aaron Brooks tossed another quality outing Thursday night, marking his fourth consecutive quality start and fifth overall in his last seven bids. Through seven innings, Brooks allowed just one run on three hits with a sole walk and five strikeouts.
Welcome to Triple-A: Clint Coulter made his Triple-A debut with the Sky Sox Thursday night, notching a number of "firsts". He collected his first Triple-A hit with a single in the third inning, and his first Triple-A home run and RBI with a 2-run shot to straight center in the seventh inning that bounced off the batter's eye. Coulter finished the night going 3-for-4 with a homer, two runs, and two RBI.
Home Sweep Home: With the completion of the three-game sweep of the Cubs Thursday night, the Sky Sox swept both series of a homestand for the first time ever in the Brewers era. They had swept the Omaha Storm Chasers in a three-game series earlier in the homestand.
The Roster Grows: With the addition of Clint Coulter on Friday, he becomes the 63rd player to play for the Sky Sox this season (31 position players, 32 pitchers), which marks the third most players used in one season for the Sky Sox. The single season mark is 67 players that played for the Sky Sox in the 2005 season (34 position players, 33 pitchers). In the 2012 season, the second most used was 64 players for the Sky Sox that year (25 position players, and 39 pitchers). With the addition of Clint Coulter, he becomes the 1,092nd player to play in a game in the 31-year history of the Sky Sox (516 position players, 576 pitchers), regular season OR postseason. Currently, 828 of those 1092 players (75.8%) have played at least one game in Major League Baseball. There have been seven additional players that were called up to the Sky Sox during the Rockies era (between 1993 and 2006), but did not appear in a game, including the aforementioned Pedro Strop. The all-time roster could expand some more, in the event the Sky Sox makes the playoffs. Three players made their Sky Sox debut in the postseason last year, including Jacob Nottingham.
Not One, but Two: Outfielder Domingo Santana hit not one, but TWO walkoffs on Wednesday evening against the Iowa Cubs. In game one of the doubleheader, Santana hit a walkoff RBI single in extra innings, and in game two Santana hit a walkoff RBI double in the bottom of the seventh to hand the Sky Sox the doubleheader sweep over the Cubs.
A First in Extras: The Sky Sox entered into their 11th extra-inning game Wednesday night in game one of the doubleheader. The 8th inning victory marked just their third win in extras and the first win in extras at home this season. The team is now 1-6 at home in extra innings.
Another Five-Hit Victory: The Sky Sox marked their eighth overall victory this season when recording five or fewer hits in game one of Wednesday's double-header against Iowa. The Sky Sox recorded half of the instances when facing the Cubs. Other instances: (4/28 vs. Omaha (5); 6/23 Game 2 @ Iowa (5); 6/24 @ Iowa (5); 7/6 Game One vs. New Orleans (3); 7/12 @ New Orleans (5); 8/14 @ Iowa (5); 8/18 vs. OMA (5).
Double-Header Walk-Off History: There have been two instances where the Sky Sox won both games of a doubleheader in walk- off fashion. The first instance is the only instance where both games were won on walk-off hits: April 11th, 2013 against the Tucson Padres, Game 1, Sky Sox won 5-4 with a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 7th inning by Ryan Wheeler. In Game 2, the Sky Sox won 4-3, when the Sky Sox rallied with a 3-run bottom of the seventh, completed by Charlie Blackmon's walk-off, two-run triple. Current St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas took the loss for Tucson in Game 2. The other instance came last year in a doubleheader against the Iowa Cubs, only one of them by a hit, and with Nate Orf scoring both winners: July 16th, 2017 against the Iowa Cubs. In Game 1, Sky Sox won 2-1, with Ivan DeJesus, Jr. batting, Nate Orf scores the winning run on a Justin Hancock wild pitch in the bottom of the 7th. In Game 2, Sky Sox won 5-4 with a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 8th inning by Nate Orf.
Iowa First and Lasts: As tonight is the final scheduled game between these two squads, here is a look at first and last games between the Sky Sox and Iowa Cubs. The first Sky Sox game vs. Iowa: May 9th, 1998 in Colorado Springs. Dan Cholowsky went 2-for-3 with an RBI, and Derrick Gibson belted a two-run homer as the Sky Sox beat Iowa, 5-4. Alan Zinter and Rod McCall homered in the loss for Iowa. The first Sky Sox game in Des Moines: May 17th, 1998 at Sec Taylor Stadium (renamed Principal Park in 2004). Tim Unroe went 2-for-4, and Pat Cline belted a two-run homer as the Iowa Cubs beat the Sky Sox, 5-2. The last Sky Sox game in Des Moines was last Thursday on August 16th. Stephen Bruno went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI, and Jason Vosler belted a 3-run homer as the Iowa Cubs beat the Sky Sox, 9-3.
Cycle Just Missed: Outfielder Tyrone Taylor came just short of the Sky Sox first cycle of the season on Sunday after starting the day off with a home run and following up with a triple and single. In his final at bat, Taylor knocked a sharp single to centerfield and tried to stretch a double to complete the feat, but was thrown out at second.
17 Runs: The Sky Sox tied for their most amount of runs recorded in a game on Sunday. The team set the feat on April 30 against Nashville at Security Service Field. They were just four hits shy of breaking the most hits in a game (20) with 17 total on the day. It marked the first time the Sky Sox have scored 17 runs in a game against Omaha.
This Week's Preview: The Sky Sox are on their final road trip to Oklahoma City and Omaha to play a four-game set against the Dodgers and a four-game set against the Storm Chasers, including a doubleheader on Wednesday.
NEXT GAME: Saturday, August 25 at 6:05 p.m. MT vs. OKC Dodgers @ Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark
RHP Paolo Espino (4-4, 4.21) vs. RHP Daniel Corcino (3-3, 3.39) - Broadcast on XTRA Sports 1300
NEXT HOME GAME: Friday, August 31 at 6:40 p.m. MT vs. Oklahoma City Dodgers @ Security Service Field