The Tacoma Rainiers (34-22) scored four unanswered runs to win 6-5, and hand the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (31-22) their first series defeat of the season on Fireworks Night at Security Service Field.
Seattle Mariners’ heralded catching prospect, Mike Zunino, stole the show tonight for Tacoma by belting two home runs, including the go-ahead blast off of Logan Kensing (L, 0-1) in the top of the ninth inning ,to put the Sky Sox’ division rivals up 6-5. The 22-year old’s first home run came in the six inning to pull the Rainiers within two runs, 5-3. Fellow top prospect Brad Miller followed Zunino’s left-field blast with a homer of his own to make it 5-4 Sox. The Rainiers completed their comeback in the seventh inning when Nate Teabrink tripled and the scored on a single by Miller to tie the game up at five runs a piece.
Despite the ending, the game began strong for the Sky Sox. For the fourth straight game the Rainiers scored first, but the Sox responded with three runs in the second inning to take a 3-1 advantage. Tacoma starting pitcher Blake Beavan issued a leadoff walk to Ryan Wheeler and Tyler Colvin then came to bat for Colorado Springs and belted his seventh home run of the season to give the team the lead. After the solo shot, first baseman Ben Paulsen continued his hot streak with his fifth triple of the season and was brought home on a sacrifice fly by Charlie Culberson.
Colorado Springs took a 4-1 lead in the third when Josh Rutledge came home on a RBI single by Wheeler. After Tacoma scored their second run of the day, on a RBI single by Stefan Romero, Dickerson led-off the bottom of the fifth inning with his 11th triple of the season and now leads all of professional baseball in that category. The Sky Sox now have 39 triples on the year which is tied with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes for the most amount of three-baggers by a team in the minors this season. With Dickerson on third, Rutledge smacked his fourth double of the year to plate the team’s fifth and final run of the night. Tacoma relievers Brian Moran (W, 2-2) and Logan Bawcom (S, 8) combined to throw 3.1 scoreless innings while striking out five.
The team’s offense stalled after the fifth inning as they only managed two hits for the rest of the game. In the bottom of the ninth, the Sox threatened with two walks, but Charlie Blackmon grounded out to the pitcher to end the game.
Tomorrow the Sky Sox will travel to Salt Lake to begin a nine day road trip. Right-hander Jeff Manship (3-2, 6.21) will take the bump in the first game of the four-game series against righty AJ Schugel (1-4, 7.99).
Sky Sox Notes: With their two triples tonight the Sky Sox have hit a triple in six straight games…Starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz had eight strikeouts tonight which increases his league leading total to 70…Charlie Culberson played his first game of the year at third base and Ryan Wheeler played his first game in left field.