As they did in the first three games of the series, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox got great pitching once again as they defeated the New Orleans Zephyrs, 2-1, on Sunday to win the final game of the series, and get their first series victory of the 2014.
LHP Pedro Hernandez (1-0) made his Sky Sox debut tossing five innings, allowing one run on six hits, while striking out three batters.
New Orleans (1-3) starting pitcher Elih Villanueva held the Sky Sox (2-1) hitless through the first two frames, before giving up his first hit to C Jackson Williams, a solo shot to left field on the first pitch of the third inning.
That lead didn’t last long as in the bottom half of the third the Zephyrs scratched out a run against Hernandez. 1B Justin Bour hit his third double of the young season with two outs to score C Rob Brantly, who singled to lead off the inning.
In the top of the fourth, however, the Sky Sox took the lead for good. 3B Ryan Wheeler and LF Matt McBride hit back-to-back singles. In the next at-bat, RF Kyle Parker would ground into a fielder’s choice and Wheeler was out at third on the force out.
Colorado Springs would get some help from the Zephyrs when 1B Ben Paulsen reached on a throwing error by 2B Taylor Harbin, and McBride would score from second.
Villanueva pitched five innings, scattering five hits, and allowed two runs (one earned), striking out five batters.
RHP Manny Corpas, who picked up the loss in the season opener, pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Hernandez to get a hold. His only blemish was a soft ground ball to the left side of the infield that RF Brian Bogusevic turned into an infield single.
RHP Brooks Brown also got a hold and pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out two batters, before RHP Chris Martin shut the door with a 1, 2, 3 ninth inning to pick up his first save of the season.
Other than Williams’ solo-shot, McBride and R. Wheeler led the Sky Sox offense with two hits each.
The Sky Sox now will travel to Round Rock, Texas, to face the Express (2-2) in a four-game set beginning Monday. LHP Yohan Flande will make his Sky Sox debut in the first game, matching up against RH Justin Germano.
· The 40 strikeouts by the Sox pitching staff fell just short of a franchise record for most strikeouts through four games (44). The Sox starters had 27 strikeouts through four games, falling two punchouts shy of the record that occurred in 2002 against Oklahoma.
· The Rockies announced Sunday that RHP Tyler Chatwood will make a ML Rehab start on Tuesday against the Express. The Rockies placed Chatwood on the Disabled List on Wednesday, April 2nd (retroactive to March 28) with a left hamstring strain.