In pouring rain, outfielder Tim Wheeler hit a walk-off single with the bases loaded to give the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (48-41) the 7-6 win over the Reno Aces (35-56) and their second walk-off win against the Aces this season.
With the game tied at six entering the bottom of the ninth, the Sky Sox began to rally against Eury De La Rosa (L, 1-4) with thunderstorms closing in. Charlie Blackmon began the inning by drawing a walk and advanced to second on a single by Xavier Nady. Last night’s hero, Ben Paulsen walked to load the bases to bring up Wheeler who closed out the game with his 18th RBI of the season.
At first it seemed like the Sky Sox would not need a dramatic hit to win the game. The team jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning against Aces’ starter Nate Adcock. Charlie Culberson started the game off on a good note for the Sox, hitting a lead-off single and then advancing to second on a groundout by Reid Brignac. The first run of the game came when Blackmon singled home Culberson and the second run came across on a Ryan Wheeler RBI triple. Xavier Nady then hit a sacrifice fly to give Colorado Springs the three run advantage.
Reno battled back in the next inning when Collin McHugh put two runners on base with a walk and a hit-by-pitch and then surrendered a two-run double to make it 3-2.
The back-and-forth affair continued in the bottom of the inning when Tim Wheeler scored on a sacrifice fly by Culberson. After a scoreless third inning the Sox continued to expand their lead when Culberson hit a solo-shot for his second RBI of the game and Blackmon knocked home Brignac with a triple. The triple was the team’s second of the game and their professional-baseball leading 57th of the year.
McHugh came out to pitch the fifth and gave up a single to Owings who scored on the next at-bat when Mike Jacobs smacked a double and Reid Brignac over threw third base. Jacobs proceeded to score on Juan Rivera’s second single of the day to bring the Aces within two. The former Las Vegas 51s’ pitcher, finished his Sky Sox debut giving up four runs in five innings while fanning four batters.
Left-hander Nick Schmidt relieved McHugh in the next inning and struck out three out of the next seven batters he faced. Still up by two Schmidt entered the game for his third inning of work and immediately gave up a single to Rivera. Josh Wilson then appeared to ground into a 1-6-3 double play, but Schmidt overthrew second base to put runners on the corners with no outs. Marte then blasted a two-run double to tie the game up at six.
The Sky Sox were unable to score in the bottom of the eighth and Logan Kensing (W, 1-1) got a 1-2-3 inning to set up Wheeler’s heroics.
Colorado Springs has now won three games in a row after losing five straight games. Tomorrow the team continues their 11-game homestand when the welcome in the Sacramento River Cats for three games. Tomorrow’s matchup against the River Cats will feature Rockies’ stars Dexter Fowler and Troy Tulowitzki who are on Major League rehab assignments. Former teammate of theirs, Aaron Cook (0-3, 6.99) will be making the start against righty Arnold Leon (0-1, 1.29) at 7:05 PM MT at Security Service Field.