Mothers Day 2008 will forever be linked to the first professional no-hitter in the history of Colorado Springs baseball. The Sky Sox used Franklin Morales, Chris George, Matt Daley and Steven Register to combine for the historic feat and the Sky Sox evened their series with Albuquerque at one game all, defeating the Isotopes, 5-1 in front of 4,277 fans on Sunday afternoon at Security Service Field.
Morales (1-0) made his season debut for the Sky Sox after being optioned down from the Rockies and pitched five innings. The lefty allowed just one run while striking out three, walking six, and of course, allowing no hits.
The lone run scored by Albuquerque was plated in the fourth inning. Andrew Beattie led off the inning with a walk and moved to second when Jason Wood reached on a throwing error by third baseman Ian Stewart. Beattie then stole third before Dallas McPherson walked to load the bases. Paul Hoover then plated Beattie with a sacrifice fly to right that made the score 3-1 Sky Sox. Morales then worked out of the inning by striking out George Lombard, walking Dante Brinkley to load the bases once again, and finally punching out the opposing pitcher Chris Seddon (2-2).
Morales was relieved by George to begin the sixth inning after throwing 91 pitches, 49 for strikes. George remained lights out from the bullpen, increasing his scoreless streak to 13.1 innings as he struck out two and walked two in 1.2 innings of work.
Daley replaced George after he walked Jai Miller with two outs in the seventh inning. He then promptly struck out Chris Barnwell to keep the no-no intact. Daley finished the afternoon pitching 1.1 innings with two strikeouts and one walk.
Register relieved Daley and finished off the no-hitter with a perfect ninth inning. Hoover led off the ninth by flying out to right and Lombard struck out looking to set up the final out. Brinkley fouled off the first pitch before Register induced a groundball to shortstop Doug Bernier who threw a strike over to first baseman Joe Koshansky to finish the game.
The Sky Sox offense provided the pitching staff with plenty of support on the day as they scored three runs early and added two more insurance runs in the eighth. Bernier had his best day of the season at the plate, going two-for-three from the eighth spot in the lineup. His two-out triple in the second inning proving to be the biggest hit of the day as it got the Sox out in front for good.
The Sox and Isotopes continue their four-game series tomorrow night with game three featuring LH Valerio de los Santos (3-2, 3.67) taking the hill for Colorado Springs. He will be opposed by former Sky Sox hurler Bobby Keppel (4-2, 5.83). First pitch is set for 7:05 PM MST.
FURTHER NOTES ON THE NO-HITTER:
This is the second no hitter in the history of the franchise with the last one coming on August 2, 2003 at Nashville when Chris Gissell (seven innings) and Jesus Sanchez (two innings) combined for the no-no. It is also the third time the franchise has held the opposition hitless through nine innings as Ryan Hawbilitzel’s no-hitter was broken up with one out in the tenth inning at Vancouver on July 27, 1993.
This marks the first professional no-hitter thrown in Colorado Springs which includes the Colorado Springs Millionaires (1901-05, ’16, Class A Western League & ’12, Class D Rocky Mountain League) and the original Colorado Springs Sky Sox (1950-58, Class A Western League).
The current franchise has come close to holding its opponent hitless in Colorado Springs before finally accomplishing the feat Sunday. The combined efforts of Mo Sanford, Terry Wells and Keith Shepherd came within one out of no-hitting the Calgary Cannons on July 19, 1993 before Brian Turang’s two-strike single off Shepherd broke up the bid.
The Sky Sox also pitched a near no hitter earlier this season at Security Service Field when Jose Capellan held the Tacoma Rainiers scoreless through six innings in the second game of a double-header. The no hitter was broken up in the seventh inning with a leadoff home run off the bat of Jeff Clement.