Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Sky Sox keep Memphis hitters grounded in second straight victory

By Brent Briggeman Published: May 4, 2014 0

Hanging just above Glenallen Hill's desk at Security Service Field are marching orders for the Rockies' organization.

The top two areas of concentration for pitchers are to throw strikes and keep a high ground-ball percentage.

Hill's postgame report from Sunday will note that both were performed by his Sky Sox to near perfection in an 8-3 victory over Memphis.

"No one will be surprised," said the Colorado Springs manager of the report he planned to file. "There's a whole lot going on behind the scenes that promotes winning."

The winning formula on this day was 19 outs via ground balls, seven on strikeouts and just one on a fly ball.

For the second day in a row, Sky Sox pitchers issued just two walks, a major reason the team has given up just three runs over its past 18 innings.

The ground balls Sunday were handled without an error and resulted in three sparkling plays from second baseman Drew Garcia.

Memphis also grounded into three double plays, which took away the opportunity for the big inning. The Redbirds managed just single runs in the first, sixth and ninth innings.

Sky Sox pitchers Pedro Hernandez, Dan Houston, Chad Bettis and Brooks Brown formed a parade on the mound, each coaxing the same result out of Memphis hitters.

"Early in the season when we started playing here we got a lot of balls up in the air," Hill said. "Or, early on we got ground balls but we didn't finish the play - we made a lot of errors early. But the pitchers have been pretty consistent at pitching to get ground balls."

Sky Sox hitters, on the other hand, were smacking line drives.

Kyle Parker ripped two doubles among his three hits. Parker scored a run, drove in a run and is batting .400 through four May games after batting .281 in April.

"I think he's a player that has an 'it' factor, and whatever level he's at, he's going to compete," said Hill, who sees plenty of room for growth in Parker's game and a multitude of tools to get there.

The Sky Sox took the lead on Parker's RBI single in the third and never again trailed. They added three runs in the fifth and three more in the seventh.

Ben Paulsen knocked a three-run home run, and Garcia added three hits to his work in the field.

Parker, in right field, was not given the same opportunity.

"Hey man, if they don't hit me the ball that's fine," Parker said. "Ground balls are awesome and just playing great together as a team."

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