Despite a four run comeback from the visiting Round Rock Express, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox rebounded to take the lead late and hold on to defeat the Express 5-4 at Security Service Field on Sunday night for their third consecutive win.
Sky Sox starting pitcher Hiram Burgos (5-7, 4.95) got off to a strong start, both on the mound and in the field. After Drew Robinson drew a leadoff walk, he attempted to steal with Doug Bernier at the plate. Bernier hit a pop up that first baseman Garin Cecchini caught behind the first base bag, then tossed to Burgos covering the base to double off Bernier.
In the second, Brett Nicholas led off with a single for Round Rock. But Burgos picked him off first, and then slapped the tag on Nicholas himself to end a rundown for the first out of the inning. Burgos then ended the inning by picking Justin Ruggiano, who previously singled, off first base for the second pickoff of the inning to keep the game scoreless.
After Burgos retired the side in order in the third, the Sky Sox offense broke through against Express starter Jack Snodgrass (0-1, 8.31). Brandon Macias singled and Kyle Wren walked to put a pair of runners on base for the Sky Sox. After Nate Orf laid down a sacrifice bunt to put the runners on second and third, Orlando Arcia lined a double down the left field line to score both runners and give the Sky Sox the lead. The next batter, Josmil Pinto, singled to center to score Arcia and give the Sky Sox a 3-0 lead after three.
In the fourth, Burgos picked off Kyle Kubitza for his third pickoff of the game to get the second out of the inning. He then struck out Nicholas to end the inning up three. With one out in the bottom half, Eric Young Jr. doubled to left. He then stole third with Kyle Wren at the plate. The steal was his 102nd with the Sky Sox, putting him just two behind Trenidad Hubbard's club record of 104. Later in the at-bat, Wren singled to left to score Young Jr. and give the Sky Sox a 4-0 lead after four.
The Express put runners on base in both the fifth and sixth innings, but Burgos induced ground ball double plays from Round Rock in both innings to get out of trouble.
Round Rock finally got on the board against Burgos in the seventh as Nicholas doubled to score Doug Bernier and cut the Sky Sox lead to 4-1. The Sky Sox turned to Michael Kirkman out of the bullpen after the double and finished the inning to keep the Sky Sox ahead.
Burgos pitched six and a third innings, allowing one earned run on six hits while striking out four.
Kirkman returned for the seventh and allowed a pair of singles to start the inning. Robinson followed the singles with a three-run home run to right to tie the game at four and end Kirkman's night. Damien Magnifico came in and allowed a pair of single to put runners on the corners with one out. He then escaped the damage by inducing a pop up from Joey Gallo and striking out Justin Ruggiano to end the frame.
In the bottom half, Cecchini led off with a double and advanced to third on a ground out from Manny Pina. Young Jr. then came to the plate and hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Cecchini with the go-ahead run for the Sky Sox.
Magnifico returned to the mound in the ninth and worked around a one-out single to finish off the win to earn his fifth victory in relief of the season.
Wren, Arcia, and Pina each had multi-hit games for the Sky Sox in the win.
The Sky Sox and Express conclude their series with a matinee on Monday. First pitch is scheduled for 12:35 p.m. at Security Service Field.