Sky Sox win over Zephyrs on Star Wars night

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The force was on Colorado Springs’ side on Saturday night as the Sky Sox defeated the New Orleans Zephyrs 9-6 in back-and-forth contest before a Star Wars night crowd of 7,165 at Security Service Field.

Josh Roenicke and Zephyrs righty Kendry Flores matched scoreless frames through the game’s first two innings before New Orleans opened the scoring in the top of the third. The Sox starter allowed a leadoff single to Isaac Galloway before Flores’ sac bunt moved the centerfielder to second with one out. After the easy out, Roenicke struggled to get another as he allowed four consecutive singles to the top of the Zephyrs order to give the visiting side an early 2-0 lead. Miguel Rojas and Vinny Rottino notched RBI singles off of the right-hander. The lead may have been greater if not for an excellent outfield throw by Logan Schafer to get Rojas at third trying to go first to third on a base hit.

Flores tossed one more scoreless inning before facing the heart of the Sox order to begin the fourth. Colorado Springs would give New Orleans a taste of their own medicine, one-upping the Zephyrs’ third inning output by stringing together five consecutive hits en route to four fast runs. Matt Clark, Matt Dominguez and Elian Herrera loaded the bases with three straight singles, bringing Matt Long to the plate with no out. Long capitalized with a two-run single to left to tie the game at two. Nevin Ashley followed with a two-run triple rocketed into the left field corner, allowing Herrera and Long to score the Sox third and fourth runs of the inning. The frustrated Flores would hit Yadiel Rivera with the very next pitch but would benefit from the pitcher’s spot in the lineup due to come. Roenicke helped his cause slightly, grounding into a double play to drive Ashley home and clear the bases. The Zephyrs starter got a chance to breathe for the first time all inning after the twin-killing, following with a Kyle Wren groundout to end the big five-run Sox fourth.

Roenicke gave up a run in both the fifth and a leadoff double to Juan Diaz in the sixth, prompting manager Rick Sweet to call upon righty Rob Wooten to maintain the now slim Sox lead. Wooten allowed Diaz to score, closing the book on Roenicke prior to letting his own run cross the plate on a sacrifice fly by Scott Sizemore. The sac fly knotted the contest at five through five and a half innings. Roenicke would be charged with four earned runs on 10 hits and two walks over five plus innings of work, striking out four in the no decision.

Flores’ night was done after allowing five runs on seven hits and a walk over five innings. The starter did not record a strikeout before handing the ball over to reliever James Nygren. The righty tossed a scoreless sixth to maintain the 5-5 tie in the back-and-forth contest.

The Zephyrs offense continued to put runs on the board, tagging Wooten for another run in the top of the seventh thanks to a Brandon Bantz RBI single that scored Vinny Rottino who led off the inning with a double. Michael Kirkman (2-0, 2.70) would be called upon to clean up for the ineffective Wooten, recording two strikeouts to limit the damage. The Rottino run gave New Orleans their first lead since the top of the fourth as the Sox now trailed 6-5.

Colorado Springs wasted little time tying the ballgame and subsequently retaking the lead as Yadiel Rivera provided the spark necessary to start the home seventh. The speedy shortstop tripled to the right-centerfield gap off of Zephyrs lefty Pat Urckfitz (0-4, 5.81) to get things started for the Sox, bringing up pinch-hitter Pete Orr with a chance to tie the game once again with a deep fly ball. Orr did a bit better than a sac fly, grounding a single up the middle to bring Rivera home with the Sox sixth run. It looked like the Sox would be satisfied with the tie as Kyle Wren and Logan Schafer were both called out on strikes, giving New Orleans two outs with a man on first. Matt Clark extended the inning with a single, bringing newest Sox infielder Matt Dominguez to the plate with runners on the corners and two out against new pitcher Jon Link. The hard-hitting third baseman and former Astros starter roped a two-run double to the left field corner off of new Zephyrs pitcher Jon Link to give the home team an 8-6 lead. Link would give up a run of his own after Luis Sardinas’ pinch-hit double plated Dominguez to give the Sox a little insurance with a 9-6 lead after seven.

New Orleans would threaten minimally in the game’s final two innings as Jaye Chapman came on with one on and one out in the top of the eight to nail down the win. Chapman did just that, earning a five out save to secure his fourth of the season and the Sky Sox 9-6 victory on Star Wars night.

With the victory, the Sox improve to 27-40 as they drop New Orleans to 31-36.

Colorado Springs will look to earn a series-split in the final game of the homestand against these same Zephyrs on Sunday afternoon. New Orleans sends lefty Chris Narveson (NR) to the mound against an even newer Sox player in right-hander Hiram Burgos (NR) with first pitch set for 1:35 PM MDT at Security Service Field.

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