Burnes Strikes out Nine, Sky Sox Shutout 'Cakes
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Sky Sox blanked the Baby Cakes Thursday night 3-0 in New Orleans, marking their second shutout in 2018 while improving to a 10-4 record. Right-hander and Brewers number two-rated prospect Corbin Burnes (1-0) led the charge and notched the first Triple-A win of his career after a stellar three-hit, nine-strikeout performance over six and one-third innings.
For most of the game, it was a pitcher's dual. In the bottom of the first, New Orleans put on the pressure when collecting two, one-out singles. However, Burnes was able to escape the trouble after striking out the next two batters, stranding runners on the corners.
Following five more dominant innings from Burnes, who collected seven strikeouts through his first three innings of work, the Sky Sox offense offered some support in the seventh. Shane Opitz cracked open the frame with a leadoff single up the middle while Gabriel Noriega backed him up with another single. Starter Burnes helped his cause by adding his first Triple-A hit to load the bases with no outs after pulling back on a sacrifice bunt and slapping a hit through the infield. The fourth batter of the inning, Johnny Davis, would groundout to plate the first run of the contest. The Sky Sox would then plate a second run during Brett Phillips' two-out at-bat when a wild pitch sent Noriega home from third base.
The Sky Sox final run of the contest would come the very next inning when Christian Bethancourt launched the only extra-base hit of the contest on the 74-degree night, a solo home run to right field, his second of the season, making it a final 3-0 score in the Sky Sox favor.
Sky Sox relievers Nick Ramirez and Erik Davis combined for two and two-thirds hitless innings.
The look to take the series tomorrow night at the Shrine against the Baby Cakes with game four. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. MST. Following tomorrow's game, the Sky Sox will head to Round Rock to take on the Express for three games before returning to Security Service Field on Wednesday for a nine-game home stretch.
Holy Smokes, That Burnes: In just his third Triple-A start, Corbin Burnes has totaled 17.1 innings pitched, collected 18 strikeouts, and has only allowed 12 hits, 4 earned runs and two walks. On Thursday night, Burnes came within one strikeout of tying a career-high of 10 set last season and completed his 12th shutout start. The 2018 season marks the Brewers number two prospect's second full season. Last season, he was named the Brewers 2017 Minor League Pitcher of the Year after going a combined 8-3 with a 1.67 ERA in 26 starts between Class-A Carolina and Double-A Biloxi.
Sky Sox Leaders: Among the league, the Sky Sox hold leaders in various categories. Andres Blanco is among the top 10 (5th) in batting with a .405 average over 12 games. Freddy Peralta is 7th in top 10 pitching with a 3-0 record and 1.13 ERA; his three wins put him in a four-way tie for first in the category and he is tied for second in strikeouts (20). Meanwhile, Brett Phillips is tied for first in triples (3), second in on-base percentage (.521), and second in walks (14).
It's A Thing: Last season, after the first 14 games played in the season, the Sky Sox also held a 10-4 overall record. The tenth win came on April 21 in game two of a doubleheader against Memphis (5-1 W).
Even Flow: The victory Thursday night brought the Sky Sox road record to 5-2, matching the home record for Colorado Springs this season (5-2).
K-Machine: Corbin Burnes' nine strikeouts on Thursday night marked the most strikeouts by a Sky Sox pitcher this season so far. The previous high was Freddy Peralta's seven recorded on April 15 against Round Rock. The last Sky Sox pitcher to collect 10 or more strikeouts was Josh Hader - on August 21, 2016, he struck out 12 batters at Round Rock.
Friday's Expectation: Tomorrow, in the final game of this four-game set against New Orleans, right-hander Freddy Peralta (3-0, 1.13) is expected to take the mound for the Sky Sox, with lefty Adam Conley (0-2, 19.64) set to oppose him on the bump for the Baby Cakes.
Previewing Next Week: The Sky Sox are set for one of the longest homestands of 2018 next week - a nine-game stretch while hosting the Omaha Storm Chasers, Triple-A affiliate of the Royals, and the Nashville Sounds, Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics.
NEXT GAME: Friday, April 20 vs. New Orleans Baby Cakes - 6:00 p.m. MDT @ Shrine on Airline (New Orleans)
RHP Freddy Peralta (3-0, 1.13) vs. LHP Adam Conley (0-2, 19.64) | Broadcast on XTRA Sports 1300
COS TOP PERFORMERS
- Corbin Burnes (W, 6.1 IP, 3 H, 9K, 1B)
- Shane Opitz (2-for-4, R)
- Christian Bethancourt (1-for-5, HR, R, RBI)
N.O. TOP PERFORMERS
- Braxton Lee (1-for-4)
- Magneuris Sierra (1-for-4)
- Cristhian Adames (1-for-4)
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