The Sky Sox came out and drilled the grizzlies throughout the game on Thursday night winning by a score of 16-8 in front of 4,126 fans at Security Service Field.
Sox starter Jason Hirsh didn’t have his best performance as he got hit early and often. Hirsh gave up three runs to the Grizzlies in the first inning when right-fielder John Bowker and first baseman Jesus Guzman recorded back-to-back RBI doubles to be followed up by an RBI single by third baseman Ryan Rohlinger, giving the Grizzlies an early 3-0 lead.
The Sox would crawl back in it, recording a run in the first, second and third innings off Fresno’s starter Ramon Ortiz. Matt Miller drove in the run in the first on a single to left field, Chris Frey had an RBI single driving in Kenny Perez in the second, and Miller added another RBI in the third on a sacrifice fly to center giving the game a score of 4-3 Grizzlies.
Hirsh would be pulled after the fourth inning after allowing five runs on eight hits and giving up one home-run that came in the third off Bowker’s bat. Hirsh would be replaced by Kurt Birkins (2-1) who would pick up the victory after holding the Grizzlies scoreless through the fifth and sixth innings.
The fifth and sixth innings were also where the Sky Sox took control of the game scoring five in the fifth and three in the sixth. The bottom of the fifth was highlighted by a two-run triple off Fresno reliever Steve Palazzolo (1-1), coming from Kenny Perez who finished 4-for-5 with three RBI and three runs scored. The sixth was highlighted by yet another RBI triple, this time produced by Matt Miller who finished the game going 3-for-3 with 4 RBI and three runs scored. The Sox would lead the game by a score of 11-5 once the fifth and sixth innings were over.
After the Sox busted out to take control of the game, the Grizzlies attempted a come back but fell short after scoring a run in the seventh and adding two in the eighth closing the gap to 11-8. The Sox weren’t having any of it, however, as they added five more insurance runs in the bottom half of the eighth to put the game well out of reach 16-8.
The final game of the four game set will be held tomorrow night at 7:05 PM and will feature lefty Franklin Morales (0-0, 1.80) for the Sox versus right-hander Billy Sadler (5-1, 4.73) of the Grizzlies.
As a side note, Sky Sox center fielder Carlos Gonzalez was called up to the Colorado Rockies during tonight’s game. To make room for Gonzalez, the Rockies will option outfielder Matt Murton back down to Colorado Springs.