Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Sky Sox set attendance record, eye 350K plateau

photo - A crowd of 6,520 watches as the Sky Sox defeat the New Orleans Zephyrs 5-4 Tuesday, June 3, 2014, at Security Service Field in Colorado Springs.  (The Gazette, Christian Murdock) + caption
A crowd of 6,520 watches as the Sky Sox defeat the New Orleans Zephyrs 5-4 Tuesday, June 3, 2014, at Security Service Field in Colorado Springs. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
By Joe Paisley Updated: August 27, 2014 at 9:15 am

Despite a 7-4 loss to El Paso, the 7,630 fans on hand Tuesday left Security Service Field entertained, judging from the cheers throughout the Pacific Coast League game.

That is why the Triple-A franchise broke its season attendance record (339,009, 2011) with 344,523 so far and one home game left.

A large crowd is expected for Wednesday's Shirt Off Our Backs Night when the home jerseys for the starting nine and manager Glenallen Hill are given away in a free raffle.

That gives Sky Sox president Tony Ensor hope the franchise can crack 350,000.

"We are keeping our fingers crossed," Ensor said.

The local organization performed well to bring in so many fans, especially with the Sky Sox stumbling to a 53-85 record. Ensor said everyone from marketing, ticket sales and ground crew and everyone in between had to perform well for the record.

"You have to have everyone pulling in the same direction and even then you have to get some help from Mother Nature," Ensor said, referring to the nine rainouts last season that scuttled hopes of setting a record. "We are blessed to have a great product to market to the best fans in the country."

El Paso starter Joe Wieland threw a strong six innings before Sky Sox first baseman Ben Paulsen hit his team-high 20th home run to make it 6-2 to start the seventh.

El Paso got that run back with a solo homer by Cody Decker to start the eighth inning. Two runs in the ninth by the Sky Sox accounted for the final margin.

Colorado Springs starter Jair Jurrjens (0-4) was touched for six runs, three earned, after two Colorado Springs miscues in the sixth helped El Paso pull away for a 6-1 lead.

One record down, 1 to go?

The Sky Sox need to go 3-3 over the final six games (five road) to avoid tying the worst record in franchise history (55-89) in 1998 under manager Paul Zuvella. That showing followed the last time the Sky Sox made the playoffs (1997), which is the longest playoff drought in Triple-A.

Notes

The home finale starters are scheduled to be Chad Bettis (3-3, 2.70 ERA) versus Chihuahuas left-hander Jason Lane (8-9, 4.67). . Rafael Ynoa's RBI double in the third was his 30th, giving him two consecutive seasons with 30 or more. . Wieland made only his third start in Triple-A this season as he rehabilitates from 2012 Tommy John surgery. The former Rangers draft pick started playing again this July.

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