A six-run fifth inning helped the Colorado Springs Sky Sox erase a 5-0 deficit en route to a 16-15 win over the Memphis Redbirds in game three of the PCL American Conference Championship Series in front of 3,614 at Security Service Field Friday night.
The win, played in front of the second-largest home postseason crowd in franchise history, gives the Sky Sox a 2-1 series lead. With a win in game four Saturday evening, the Sox would clinch a spot in the PCL championship against the El Paso Chihuahuas. Sunday's game five at 1:30 p.m. MT would be played if necessary.
Nate Orf started the Sky Sox rally in the second inning, launching a solo home run high over the left field wall to cut the deficit to 5-1. The first postseason home run of 2017 for the hosts was the right fielder's 10th overall home run of the season and his fifth long ball since August 1.
The Sox trimmed the Memphis lead to 5-4 with a three-run third inning. With two outs, a walk and a single set the table for Ivan De Jesus, who lined a double to left-center field to score Kyle Wren. One batter later, Chris Colabello lined a 3-2, two-run single to left field to plate Johnny Davis and De Jesus.
Colorado Springs broke the game open with a six-run fifth inning to take a 10-5 lead. With the bases loaded, Colabello flared his second run-scoring single of the night to score Lucas Erceg. Orf drove in his second run of the night on a towering double off the left field wall to score Wren for the hosts' first lead of the game.
One batter later, Dubon grounded a RBI single through the drawn-in infield to left field to score Colabello. On the relay, the Redbirds threw the ball into the Sox bullpen to allow Orf to score the ninth run of the game. Tyler Heineman capped the inning with a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Dubon for the inning's sixth run.
The Redbirds cut into the Sox lead with two runs in the top of the sixth, but a three-run bottom half of the inning stretched the Colorado Springs lead to 13-7. De Jesus lined a RBI single up the middle to score Wren, who walked for the third time in as many at-bats. Colabello sent his third RBI single to deep center field to score Davis, while Dubon lined a sacrifice fly to right field to plate De Jesus for the second baseman's second RBI of the game.
The offense scored for the third straight inning with a trio of runs in the seventh to extend the lead to 16-7. Wren hustled out a double to right-center field for his first hit of the night, scoring Yadiel Rivera. Davis lined his third hit of the game to left field to score Wren, while Colabello lined his fourth single to plate Davis for his fifth RBI of the game.
The Sox seek to punch their ticket to the PCL Championship Series Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. MT when RHP Bubba Derby (5-0, 3.55 ERA in regular season) squares off with Memphis RHP Zac Gallen (1-1, 3.48 ERA).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.