COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - In his first start with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (39-31) since returning from the Rockies, starting pitcher Chris Volstad (W, 4-1) only allowed one run in 6.1 innings of work to lead the Sky Sox to a 4-1 victory over the Tacoma Rainiers (43-30) in front of 6,087 fans at Security Service Field and move the team to 2.5 games back of Tacoma for the Pacific North division lead.
Volstad allowed the Sky Sox’ only run of the day in the second inning when Stefan Romero led off the inning with a double, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and then scored on a RBI single by Rich Poythress.
The Sky Sox aimed to score their first run of the day in the fifth inning when Charlie Culberson hit the team’s professional baseball-leading 46th triple of the year. After Ben Paulsen struck out, Hernan Iribarren laid down a squeeze bunt to plate Culberson. Rainiers’ starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (L, 2-2) tried to throw out Culberson at home, but overthrew the plate allowing Iribarren to reach second. The run snapped Ramirez’ 19 and 1/3 inning scoreless streak. The next batter Lars Davis hit a single to score the second baseman and give the Sky Sox the 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Colorado Springs again capitalized on miscues by Tacoma. The bottom of the inning began when Corey Dickerson walked and then reached second on an error on the pick-off attempt by Ramirez. Matt McBride then came to the plate and hit a double to increase the team’s lead to 3-1. McBride then scored on a Culberson single to make it 4-1 Colorado Springs.
Left-hander Nick Schmidt (S, 1) relieved Volstad in the seventh and only allowed two hits to Tacoma in his 2.2 innings of relief. The Sky Sox’ strong pitching performances were backed by solid defense. Despite committing an error, Colorado Springs turned three double plays including an unassisted double play by Ben Paulsen in the ninth inning.
With the 4-1 win the Sky Sox take the first game of the series and will look to take a two-game lead tomorrow when they send right-hander Cory Riordan (4-1, 5.18) to the mound against righty Brandon Maurer (1-1, 1.53) in the afternoon matinee which is scheduled to begin at 12:35 PM MT.
Sky Sox Notes: Matt McBride hit his 17th double of the year tonight and has now smacked a double in three straight games…Corey Dickerson got on base with a walk, but was held hitless. His 0-3 night snaps his streak of ten straight games with multiple hits…Nick Schmidt earned his first save of the year and is the sixth different Sox’ pitcher to record a save this season.