It was Home Run Derby in Colorado Springs yesterday, with five balls going yard. A five-hit shutout capped off a great evening in Asheville. Meanwhile, Tulsa's offense underwhelmed, and Modesto lost in 17 innings after striking out 19 times and committing four errors.
Colorado Springs Sky Sox 13, Fresno Grizzlies 8
Record: 28-18, 1st Place
The Colorado Springs offense hammered Fresno for 13 runs off five home runs, 16 total hits, and 10 walks. Corey Dickerson led off the Home Run Derby in the first inning. After snapping his 18-game hitting streak by going hitless in the previous two games, Dickerson went 3-for-6 last night. Charlie Culberson's triple, which brought Ben Paulsen and Tyler Colvin home, put the score at 3-1 at the end of the first. Three more home runs came in the bottom of the fourth, including back to back homers from Paulsen and Colvin, and a solo shot from Greg Golson. By the end of the fifth, the Sky Sox led the Grizzlies 11-2, though that lead would be trimmed in the sixth. Paulsen's second home run of the game came in the seventh, a solo shot to center field.
Of the position players, only Josh Rutledge failed to reach base. He struggled at the plate, going 0-for-6 with two strikeouts. Chris Volstad was less than crisp, allowing four runs on 10 hits in his five innings of work. This hardly matters, however, when your offense is pounding out hits, and his performance was enough to earn him the win. Coty Woods had the best pitching performance on the Sky Sox staff, allowing two hits, no runs or walks, and striking out two in his inning of work.
Also of note: as the Sky Sox recap points out, Tyler Colvin tied the Sky Sox record for runs scored in a single game (5). Paulsen's two home run night was the third such night in a row for a sky sox hitter, following Matt McBride and Tyler Colvin accomplishing the same such feat.
Tulsa Drillers 2, Midland RockHounds 3
Record: 22-24, 3rd Place
The Tulsa Drillers offense was very quiet in Friday's game against Midland. They scored two runs off of four hits, three hits, and only one extra base hit. The bats in the middle of the lineup- Kyle Parker, Kent Matthes, and Angelys Nina- were the only ones which could muster a hit. Kent Matthes went 2-for-4 on the night, and his double in the bottom of the seventh drove in the second run of the game. Nina is currently getting on base at a .391 clip, and his .923 OPS (including five home runs, two triples, and 12 doubles) on the season makes this the most successful year he has had in the organization so far.
Roy Oswalt pitched five innings, and although he only gave up four hits, two were back-to-back home runs in the top of the second to bring the team quickly to a two run deficit. Parker Frazier pitched three scoreless frames, allowing two hits and no walks, and Juan Gonzalez allowed one hit and struck out one in his inning of work. After struggling as a starter for Modesto last year, Gonzalez has allowed two runs (one earned), while striking out nine in 10 innings of relief this year.
Modesto Nuns 3, Lake Elsinore Storm 4 (17 innings)
Record: 20-26, 4th place
In a 17 inning marathon game, it is easy to find interesting facts. The teams combined for 115 at-bats, 24 hits, and only seven runs. The Modesto offense struck out in nearly a third (19 of 60) of their at bats. In a league featuring the designated hitter, 8 pitchers took to the mound for Lake Elsinore, while only four were brought into the game for Modesto. Ultimately, it was the sloppy defensive play which lost the game for Modesto. Two errors committed in the bottom of the 17th allowed Lake Elsinore 1B Travis Whitmore to score from 2nd base.
Asheville Tourists 6, Rome Braves 0
Record: 25-21, 4th Place
Last night was a great night to be in Asheville, as the team wore pink Breast Cancer Awareness uniforms in front of a season high crowd. The Asheville pitching staff combined for a five-hit shutout, despite the fact that no pitcher completed four innings of work. In his first start of the year, Ryan Arrowood put up three frames of two-hit ball while walking two and striking out five. Josh Slaats, who was credited with the win, picked up where Arrowood left off, going 3 2/3 innings and allowing three hits, two walks, and striking out three. Despite a moment of wildness in the eighth inning which included a walk, a wild pitch, and passed ball, Jesse Meaux continued to be almost untouchable this season. He has allowed only 10 hits in his last 10 appearances, and has not allowed a run to score since April 24.
Each member of the Asheville offense had a productive night at the plate, reaching base at least once. Derek Jones hit his seventh home run of the year. Max White and Wessinger's doubles were the only other extra base hits on the night. Dillon Thomas continues to be a walking machine. Last night he went 1-for-2 with two walks. Despite owning a .179 batting average with only 7 hits, his 10 walks boost his OBP to .347.