The Sky Sox dropped a heartbreaker on Thursday night, losing to the Las Vegas 51s 7-5 in 10 innings to even this three-game series at one game apiece.
After winning game one of this short three-game series last night, the Sky Sox continued on the right foot in the first inning here in game two. Freddy Peralta struck out the first two batters he faced in the top of the first, drawing a flyout for the third out of the half-inning to give the home team their first chance at the plate. Nate Orf led off with a triple on the third pitch he saw (his third three-bagger of the season), coming home on the very next pitch via a ground out off the bat of Keon Broxton to give Colorado Springs an early 1-0 lead.
After a quiet second inning, the Sky Sox went back to work in the third. Peralta once again struck out the first two Las Vegas batters he faced, gave up a single, and then recorded a third strikeout to get out of the inning. That would prove to be all for Peralta on the night, allowing no runs on two hits with five strikeouts and no walks. In the bottom of the frame, Brett Phillips drew a two-out walk to put one on for Christian Bethancourt, who promptly hit a two-run, no-doubt homer over the left field wall to extend the Sky Sox lead to three runs.
The next three innings proved to be scoreless, but in the top of the seventh, the 51s broke up the shutout in loud fashion. Zach Borenstein kicked off the inning with a solo homer to make it a 3-1 affair. Patrick Kivlehan then reached on a fielding error by Colorado Springs, advancing to second on a Colton Plaia four-pitch walk. Patrick Biondi singled on the next pitch to load the bases for pinch-hitter Johnny Monell, who doubled to clear the bases and give Las Vegas a 4-3 lead.
The 51s threatened again in the top of the eighth, beginning with a leadoff single from Phillip Evans. Evans moved to second on a wild pitch, and advanced to third on a ground out, but was left stranded 90 feet from home. Jon Perrin was able to record a strikeout for out number two, and a flyout for out number three to get safely out of the inning. The Sky Sox went three up and three down in the bottom of the eighth to send the game onto the ninth, still trailing by one.
In the top of the ninth, the 51s managed a single but nothing more, sending it to the bottom of the ninth to give Colorado Springs one final chance for a comeback. In the first at-bat of the frame, Bethancourt hit his second homer of the evening and his eighth of the season to tie the ballgame at 4-4 and give the Sky Sox some breathing room to work with. Brad Miller singled on the next pitch, before Andres Blanco was hit-by-pitch to put two on, still with no outs (Dylan Moore came into the game to pinch-run for Blanco). Kyle Wren laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners up, with the winning run now just 90 feet from home. Jett Bandy was then intentionally walked to load the bases and set up a potential double play for pinch-hitter Shane Opitz, which is exactly what happened as Opitz hit into a double play, sending the game into extra innings.
Instituting the new extra-innings rule that starts every extra inning with a man on second base, Las Vegas was able to plate a run on a Colorado Springs throwing error to take a 5-4 lead. With two outs and Borenstein on second, Cody Asche drew an intentional walk to put two on. Plaia then doubled to score both runners and make it a 7-4 game. Biondi was then intentionally walked to again put two on for Las Vegas, but a strikeout brought the half-inning to a close, sending it to the bottom of the tenth, beginning with Jacob Nottingham pinch-running and starting on second base.
Orf led off the inning with an RBI single to score Nottingham and reduce the lead to just two runs. Broxton then hit into a fielder’s choice, with Orf being thrown out at second for the first out of the inning. Phillips then hit into a similar fielder’s choice, with Broxton now being thrown out at second. Down to their final out, Bethancourt also hit into a fielder’s choice, with Phillips being thrown out at second to end the game, with Las Vegas evening the series at one game apiece.