The Sky Sox opened up their first homestand after the All-Star Break with a 5-4 win over the Round Rock Express Monday night, after going 2-2 on the road in New Orleans in the first series of the second half.
After the Express went three up and three down in the top of the first, the Sky Sox bats went to work in the bottom half of the inning. Orlando Arcia drew a one-out walk, and in the next at-bat, on a Tyrone Taylor single, Arcia came all the way home on an early Round Rock error for the first run of the night, with Taylor ending up at second on the play. A wild pitch advanced Taylor to third, and a Domingo Santana single would score him to make it 2-0. Christian Bethancourt then crushed a team-leading 14th home run to put the Sky Sox up 4-0 in the first.
The four-run first inning was followed by three scoreless frames, with Colorado Springs’ starter Nick Ramirez exiting the game after the conclusion of the fourth inning. Though Ramirez had pitched in 77 career games prior to this evening, tonight was his first career start. Ramirez was scoreless in the start, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out two Round Rock batters.
In the top of the fifth inning Ramirez was replaced on the mound by Michael Brady, who gave up the first run of the night to Round Rock. Tony Sanchez and Juan Centeno hit back-to-back one-out singles to put two on for Drew Robinson, who hit a single of his own to score Sanchez and make it a 4-1 contest.
In the top of the next inning, the Express added on. Scott Heineman led off with a single, and Willie Calhoun doubled in the next at-bat to score Heineman. A wild pitch from Brady then allowed Calhoun to move up to third, and a Sanchez single would score Calhoun to reduce Colorado Springs’ lead to just one run.
The Sky Sox immediately responded in the bottom half of the frame, scoring again for the first time since the four-run first inning. Santana drew a one-out walk, moving up to second on a Bethancourt fly out, eliciting a pitching change from Round Rock. The pitching change didn’t work out, however, as Jett Bandy promptly hit an RBI double off the new Express pitcher (Tayler Scott) to extend the Sky Sox lead to 5-3.
Round Rock began to threaten in the penultimate inning, with Hunter Cole drawing a leadoff walk. Sanchez then reached on the Sky Sox first error of the evening to put two on with no outs. Juan Centeno then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners over, before Hanser Alberto was hit by pitch to load the bases for Cliff Pennington, who drew a walk to plate Cole and make it 5-4. The Express were unable to bring anyone else home, however, with the Sky Sox retaining a one-run lead going into the bottom of the eighth.
The bottom of the eighth and the top of the ninth saw no score change, however, with the Sky Sox winning their first home game of the second half 5-4.
The Sky Sox are in the midst of a four-game series against the Round Rock Express at Security Service Field, before going on the road to Memphis for a three-game set against the Redbirds.