Schmidt Shuts Down Vegas' Offense in 5-3 Win

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The Colorado Springs Sky Sox (75-68) won their second straight game against the Las Vegas 51s (78-64) by a score of 5-3, with Sox starter Nick Schmidt shutting down the Vegas offense over seven innings of work while Charlie Culberson notched his second straight four-hit game against the 51s. The two straight wins have been in front of crowds that totaled 8,790 and 8,798 respectively, and the 17,588 fans in the two games is the largest attendance total for back-to-back games in Sky Sox history.

Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki joined the Sky Sox for the fourth time in the last five days as part of his Major League rehab assignment, but was held hitless for the first time in five total starts for Colorado Springs this season. Tulowitzki drew a walk in his first at-bat, then struck out and grounded out in his final two plate appearances on the day to move to 4-for-12 with a homer and a double as well as two RBI in his four games this week. Tulowitzki made two plays in the field in his five total innings, including an unassisted double play to end the second as the 51s were threatening with the bases loaded. Tulowitzki is scheduled to play seven innings in the Sky Sox season finale tomorrow.

Sky Sox starter Nick Schmidt (7-3, 5.68 ERA) collected his seventh win in his last nine starts for the Sox as he did not allow a single earned run in his seven innings of work, tying his Triple-A career high for innings pitched in a start. Schmidt allowed only four hits to the 51s in his outing, and retired 14 of his last 15 batters he faced in the third through seventh innings. Schmidt has gone at least six innings in six of his 11 starts for Colorado Springs this season.

The game was tied at 1-1 through three and a half innings, but the Sky Sox scored four unanswered runs on two solo homers by Chad Tracy and Omir Santos in the fourth and fifth innings respectively, a RBI single by Matt McBride in the fifth and a RBI double by Charlie Culberson in the seventh to take a lead they would not relinquish in the game. Tracy’s 12th homer of the season ranks second on the Sox this season, and Culberson’s double in the seventh was his eighth hit in his last two games and his 41st hit in his 29 games since joining the Sox.

The 51s threatened in the ninth inning with two runs on a two-out double by pinch-hitter Kevin Howard, but Sky Sox reliever Mike Ekstrom struck out the potential tying run at the plate in Blue Jays prospect Anthony Gose to end the game. It was likely Ekstrom’s final appearance for the Sky Sox this season, in a season when he made 43 appearances for the Sox without allowing a home run which will be the most in the PCL this season without allowing a long bomb.

With the 8,798 fans in attendance for Sunday’s game, the Sky Sox have already set a new club record for average attendance with one game left on the schedule. The Sox and 51s will lock up in a second straight day game to end the 2012 season for both clubs with the Sox sending out Rob Scahill (9-11, 5.76 ERA), the only pitcher who has been on the Colorado Springs roster from season’s start to season’s end and has already set the Sox record for individual strikeouts in a season. Scahill will face off with Las Vegas lefty Bill Murphy (7-5, 4.42 ERA) at 1:05 p.m. MT.