The Colorado Springs Sky Sox (9-9) edged the New Orleans Zephyrs (6-13) by the score of 2-1 on Monday night and moved back to .500 on the season in the process. The win gives the Sox a two game to one advantage in the four-game series with an opportunity to take the series tomorrow morning in the series finale.
Christian Bergman (2-1) tossed seven outstanding innings in a classic bayou pitcher's duel as the righty turned in his second quality start of the year. The other also came down in New Orleans in his first start of the season on April 4. In his seven frames tonight, Bergman gave up just one unearned run on six hits, two walks and two strikeouts.
The two clubs exchanged runs in the first inning with both teams taking advantage of errors to score unearned runs. In the top half of the inning, Sky Sox second baseman Drew Garcia singled with one out and moved all the way to third on the play when Z's centerfielder Jake Marisnick misplayed the ball. He was promptly plated by Ryan Wheeler who lifted a sacrifice fly to center. In the bottom half, New Orleans lead-off hitter Matt Angle singled, stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by Sox catcher Michael McKenry. He scored two batters later on an RBI groundout to tie the game up at 1-1.
The game remained tied until the sixth as both teams kept the other's offense in check. Elih Villanueva started for the Zephyrs and tossed five solid innings giving up just two hits and the one unearned run before giving way to Sam Dyson (0-1) in the sixth. The Sky Sox took advantage of the new hurler and scored the eventual winning run with the baseball never leaving the infield. Jason Pridie led off the inning with a walk and then stole second one out later. Pridie then moved to third on a groundout and Kyle Parker plated him on an infield single to the pitcher to give the Sox the 2-1 lead.
Bergman worked around some traffic on the bases in his final two innings but got a groundball double play in the sixth and a pair of groundouts in the seventh to escape the jams and maintain the 2-1 advantage for the Sox.
Nick Masset made quick work of the eighth as he tossed a perfect inning with a strikeout before giving way to Chris Martin (3) in the ninth.
New Orleans wouldn't go down easily though as catcher Rob Brantly singled to start the inning and moved to second on a sac bunt. Marisnick then doubled to put runners on second and third and the Sky Sox decided to intentionally walk Zack Cox to load the bases with one out. That's when Martin took over and struck out pinch-hitter Kyle Skipworth looking on three straight called strikes and then got Angle to groundout to end the game. For Martin, it was his third save of the season.
Game four of the series is set for tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM (MDT) with LH Tyler Matzek (1-0, 3.00) taking the hill for the Sky Sox opposite RH Jay Rogers (0-1, 5.84). Fans can follow the game on Twitter @SkySoxGameDay or tune in to the call with the voice of the Sky Sox Dan Karcher on AM 1300 The Animal.
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