Starting pitcher Chris Volstad (W, 5-1) only allowed two runs in seven innings to propel the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (45-36) over the Tucson Padres (44-39), 5-2, in front of 6,121 fans on Star Wars Night at Security Service Field.
Volstad came out strong right out of the gate for the Sky Sox, getting the first two batters to fly out to left field. After the first two outs, 23 of the Padres next 25 outs would be groundball outs. The right-hander racked up the outs early, putting up zeros on the board for the first six innings.
Colorado Springs gave their starter a three-run cushion in the bottom of the fourth inning when they strung together four straight hits against Padres’ pitcher Josh Geer (L, 0-1). The hit parade began when Charlie Blackmon laced a single into left field and was then plated on a double by Ryan Wheeler. Up 1-0, Ben Paulsen hit his 10th triple of the season and the team’s 54th of the year to put them up by two runs. Greg Golson then followed with a RBI single to make it 3-0 Sox.
The Padres got on the board in the seventh when Rene Rivera singled home Brandon Allen who reached earlier in the inning on a double. The next batter Jonathan Galvez then belted a ball to deep left-center field which bounced off the top of the wall for a double. The hit only brought home one run and the next batter, Cody Decker, grounded out to end the inning. Volstad finished his day after seven innings which ties his longest outing of the season. This was also the seventh time he has allowed two or fewer runs in a start this year with the Sky Sox.
After the seventh inning the Padres would be held without a hit as Coty Woods and Logan Kensing combined to pitch a scoreless eighth and ninth inning. Despite not allowing a hit in the ninth, Kensing issued two walks to bring the tying run to the plate, but Rivera grounded into a 1-6-3 double play to end the game. The righty closer is now 11-for-11 in save opportunities and has recorded a save in his last five appearances.
The rubber game of the five-game series will take place tomorrow at 1:35 PM MT and features right-hander Juan Nicasio (NR) against righty Sean O’Sullivan (7-4, 3.82). Nicasio will be making his first start tomorrow for the Sky Sox after being optioned down. While with the Rockies the righty went 4-4 with a 5.31 ERA in 16 starts.
Sky Sox Notes: Charlie Culberson continued his hitting streak in the seventh inning when he hit a single to extend the streak to 16. He also stole a base for the third consecutive game…Reid Brignac reached first base on an error in his first Sky Sox at-bat, but left in the fourth inning…Tim Wheeler also extended his hitting streak tonight, getting two hits to extend his streak to 10.