The Colorado Springs Sky Sox bats erupted for 18 hits, including a season-high four home runs, as they pummeled the Reno Aces in a 13-8 victory in front of 3,503 fans on Sunday afternoon at Security Service Field. The victory gives the Sky Sox an above .500 record of 45-44 as they head into the All-Star break. It’s the first time the Sox have had a winning record at the half way point since 2009 when the club was 51-39.
Starting pitcher Rob Scahill (7-9) picked up his team-leading seventh win of the season for the Sky Sox after throwing six solid innings. He surrendered just two unearned runs on the day on seven hits while walking three and striking out five. The win was just the second at home for Scahill but his second in a row after earning a win in the Springs on June 21 versus Salt Lake.
At the plate, the Sky Sox used an early seven-run second inning to get out to an early 7-2 lead and chase Reno starter Barry Enright (7-6) who lasted just 1.2 innings and gave up seven runs on seven hits. In the seven-run frame, the Sox hit two homers with the first coming off the bat of third baseman Brendan Harris, a two-run shot, and the second from Major League rehabbing catcher Ramon Hernandez who belted an opposite field, three-run homer that sent Enright to the showers.
Colorado Springs added four more runs in the third to build an 11-2 lead with Scahill helping his own cause with a RBI single. Outfielder Tim Wheeler added a RBI groundout and infielder DJ LeMahieu plated two more with a single to round at the inning.
The comfortable lead would last until the seventh inning when Reno, the PCL’s best hitting team, scored six runs to cut the lead to 11-8. The first seven batters reached base in the inning with six of them coming around to score. All six runs came off reliever Jason Bergmann who walked the lead off batter and then surrendered four consecutive singles and then two doubles despite none of the balls being hit particularly hard. Relievers Joe Torres and Edgmer Escalona retired the next three batters to end the threat and preserve the Sox lead.
Insurance runs for the Sky Sox came via the long ball with one of them coming from the most unlikely of sources and the other from the most likely. After retiring the final batter in the 7th, Escalona stayed in the game and hit second in the bottom half of the inning. After an out, Escalona stepped to the plate and crushed a ball to deep left for the first home run of his career. The blast was also the first career hit for Escalona as he had failed to register a hit in his previous six career plate appearances. The last homer of the day came off the bat of Sky Sox home run leader Andrew Brown. Brown’s solo blast in the 8th inning was his team-leading 18th of the season and also gave him 79 RBI which is the second most in all of the minor leagues.
The Sky Sox will be off for the next three days but return to action on Thursday, July 12 as they travel to Tacoma for a four-game series. Righty Guillermo Moscoso (5-3, 5.69) will be on the hill for the Springs with game time set for 8:05 PM (MDT).