Sounds Top Sky Sox 16-11 In Slugfest
Teams Combine for 10 Home Runs in Series Finale
3,865 fans at Security Service Field were treated to a home run barrage at Security Service Field on a balmy Sunday afternoon in the Sky Sox 16-11 loss to the Nashville Sounds.
Nashville got off to as fast start for the second straight game with the help of speedster Billy Burns. The leadoff man drilled starting pitcher Drew Gagnon’s first pitch to the right center field gap and motored into third with a triple to start the action. Perhaps a bit shaken by the rude welcome to his first Triple-A appearance, Gagnon grazed two-hole hitter Andy Parrino with his very next pitch putting runners on the corners with no outs. A deep fly ball to left field off the bat of first baseman Max Muncy led to the game’s first run as the sacrifice fly easily scored Burns. Gagnon escaped further trouble inducing a line out to right field by cleanup hitter Jason Pridie and high fly ball to Luis Sardinas in shallow left by catcher Bryan Anderson.
The Sounds would strike again in the third with their first, but certainly not last, home run of the season courtesy of a two-run shot to right center by Anderson.
The Sky Sox answered quickly, getting on the board in their half of the third thanks to a few hot-hitting infielders. With one out, Luis Sardinas singled to extend his hitting streak to four straight games. After a fielder’s choice ground out by Pete Orr gave the Sox two outs, designated Elian Herrera continued his offensive tear, taking Leon’s 1-2 offering deep over the right center field fence. The two-run shot represented Herrera’s fourth extra base hit and fifth hit overall in the young 2015 season.
After giving a run back in the top half of the fourth to make the score 4-3, outfielder Bryan Petersen swatted his first round-tripper of the season on a two out, two-run, 456 foot blast off of Sounds starter Arnold Leon. The homer knotted the game at four and gave new life to the ballgame.
Leon gave up a 5th inning leadoff single to Pete Orr who then stole second base and advanced to third on throwing error by Anderson. Followed by a Herrera strikeout, Pat Venditte (1-0, 0.00) came on in relief of Leon to face opening night home run hero Matt Clark. Clark lifted a soft liner into right field scoring Orr from third, giving the Sox their first and, ultimately, only lead of the ballgame. Struggling with his command early, Venditte walked Jason Rogers then followed with a wild pitch to Shane Peterson, allowing the runners to advance to second and third respectively with just one out. The switch-pitching Venditte worked out of the fifth inning jam getting Peterson on an infield fly to short and a swinging strike out of Ben Guez on a 73 mph curveball. The failure to capitalize on this scoring opportunity further would come back to haunt the team as the Colorado Springs bullpen would give the lead right back.
Left-hander Jed Bradley (0-1, 27.00) came on in relief of Gagnon after the starter put in five innings of work, allowing four earned runs on four hits while striking out three in his Triple-A debut. The newly earned lead would not last long for the Sky Sox as Bradley struggled mightily in his 0.2 of an inning. The Nashville offense strung together four consecutive hits with the last of those hits being a bases-clearing double by left fielder Anthony Aliotti. The double gave Aliotti three of his five RBIs on the ballgame as he collected at least one in three consecutive at bats. Bradley would be chased with two outs in the inning with right-hander Rob Wooten taking over on the mound in hopes of limiting the damage. Unfortunately the runs kept coming as Joey Wendle (the inning’s leadoff hitter) would hit the first of back-to-back home runs off of Wooten before getting Aliotti on a shallow fly ball to cap the inning’s scoring at nine.
The 13-5 score after six innings would not hold up as both teams’ bullpen’s would allow nine more combined runs on the strength of five additional home runs, giving the game a grand total of ten.
Home runs by Jason Rogers in the seventh and Elian Herrera and Shane Peterson in the ninth gave Colorado Springs five on the day. With his second home run of the game, Herrera picked up his fifth extra base hit and seventh hit overall of the young season.
The lone bright spot in the Sky Sox bullpen was none other than offseason trade prize Corey Knebel. The right-hander pitched a scoreless top of the ninth, setting the side down in order with two strikeouts.
After falling to 1-3 on the season, the Sox will look to rebound Monday night against the visiting Round Rock Express (1-3) with right-hander Tyler Cravy (NR) making his first start of 2015 against righty Ross Wolf (0-0, 9.00). First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 PM MST at Security Service Field.