The Colorado Springs Sky Sox (61-62) win the first game of today’s doubleheader against the Memphis Redbirds (60-66) , 7-3 and the second game, 7-1 to sweep their third doubleheader of the year and win the series three games to one at Security Service Field.
Third baseman Ryan Wheeler was the story tonight for the Sky Sox. In today’s two games, the PCL All-star went a combined 3-for-4 with a double, a grand slam and six RBIs. Wheeler recorded his first RBI of the day in the third inning of game two when he singled home Jordan Pacheco who drew a walk to begin the inning. The RBI tied the game up at one, but Xavier Nady then hit a RBI single of his own to plate Josh Rutledge who singled earlier in the third. For the second consecutive inning Redbirds pitcher Nick Additon (L, 8-7) issued a lead-off walk. After a sacrifice bunt by Chris Volstad (W, 7-4), Additon walked Tim Wheeler and then allowed a RBI single to Pacheco. The team then loaded the bases and added one run on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Wheeler and two more on back-to-back singles by Nady and Kent Matthes to increase their lead to 6-1.
Memphis threatened in the sixth inning when Volstad hit Chad Huffman with a pitch and then allowed a single to Greg Garcia which put two runners on. The Sky Sox appeared to record their fourth double play of the game when Justin Christian grounded to the shortstop, but both runners were ruled safe to load the bases. Memphis cut the lead in half in the next at-bat when catcher Travis Tartamella smacked a two-run single. Volstad was able to get out of the top of inning and finished the day only allowing three runs in six innings while fanning two batters. The Sky Sox scored one more run in the bottom of the sixth and Mitchell Boggs got a quick seventh inning to secure the game one victory.
Just like game one, the Sky Sox jumped out in front of Memphis early in game two. In the third inning, Tim Wheeler blasted his fourth home run of the year, off of Scott McGregor (L, 4-9), to give the Sox the 1-0 lead. An inning later Kent Matthes smacked his sixth dinger of the year, a two-run shot, to make it 3-0.
In what was his fifth start of the season, lefty Nick Schmidt stifled the Redbirds offense for four innings, no-hitting the team in his four innings of work. Rockies’ closer Rafael Betancourt, who is on a rehab assignment, relieved Schmidt in the fifth and gave up back-to-back singles to break up the no-hitter. Memphis managed to scratch across a run in that inning, but the Sky Sox answered in grand fashion in the bottom of the fifth.
Redbirds’ reliever Deryk Hooker got two quick outs in the fifth, but then loaded the bases on singles by Tim Wheeler, Hernan Iribarren and Reid Brignac. Ryan Wheeler then stepped up to the plate and belted the team’s first grand slam since June 11 of this year. The slam gave the team the 7-1 lead which they would hold on to with the help of Rob Scahill (W, 5-1), who struck out five batters in two shutout innings of relief.
Colorado Springs finishes the homestand with a record of 5-3, and now travel to Tacoma for five games before returning home for their last homestand of the season. Right-hander Armando Galarraga (0-2, 7.24) will kick-off the road trip on the mound against righty Blake Beavan (4-4, 5.16) at 8:00 PM MT.
Sky Sox Notes: Ryan Wheeler’s grand slam was the team’s third of the season with their last one coming on June 11, against the Salt Lake Bees…With tonight’s win Chris Vosltad improves to 3-0 against Memphis in his career and has a 2.70 ERA in 20.0 innings against the Redbirds…In game one the team turned four double plays which is the most amount of double plays the team has turned in one game this season. Their previous high was three which they accomplished 13 times.