May 22, 2012 12:15 AM by Jordan Mason
The Colorado Springs Sky Sox (23-21) fell out of first place in the Pacific Northern Division by losing the series opener to the Oklahoma City Redhawks (25-19) Monday, with a pinch-hit two-RBI single by Redhawks infielder Mike Hessman with two outs in the ninth inning breaking up a 3-3 ballgame.
After Oklahoma City took the lead with their four-hit final frame, the Sky Sox attempted to stage a second comeback in the game, as Colorado Springs had already erased an early three-run deficit. The Sky Sox had runners at second and third with one out in the ninth, but Redhawks reliever Jose Valdez notched his 10th save of the season by inducing a bases-loaded pop out by Sox first baseman Chad Tracy to end the threat.
Sky Sox starter Rob Scahill gave up three runs in his six innings of work, but posted his second double-digit strikeout performance of the season by fanning ten Oklahoma City batters in the game. Scahill became the third pitcher in Sky Sox history to post two games of at least ten strikeouts in a season, with former Sky Sox pitching coach Doug Linton notching three games with double-digit strikeouts in 2000 and Mike Saipe with two games during the 1998 season. The Sky Sox have lost both games in which Scahill has amassed double-digit strikeouts this season.
The Sky Sox erased the deficit by scoring two runs in the fifth on a RBI double by catcher Wil Nieves and a RBI single by second baseman DJ LeMahieu, which extended his league-leading on-base streak to 22 games and also set a new team high this season with his eleventh straight game with a hit, and on a solo homer in the seventh by Nieves that tied the game. The solo shot stayed just inside the left field foul pole, and also snapped an eight-game homerless streak for the Sox.
With Salt Lake defeating the Omaha Storm Chasers on the road tonight by a score of 4-2, the loss by the Sky Sox drops them to a half game back of the division lead to the Bees. Colorado Springs will attempt to regain the division lead as they send out right-hander Edgar Gonzalez (2-1, 4.99 ERA) to match up against Redhawks right-hander Paul Clemens (4-3 5.67 ERA) in the second game of the series at 6:05 p.m. MT Tuesday night.
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