COLORADO SPRINGS -- There will be a decisive Game 5 between Memphis and Colorado Springs on Sunday after the Redbirds pushed across four runs in the 10th inning of an eventual 11-8 victory.
The Memphis win on Saturday night tied the best-of-five PCL American Conference championship series at 2-2. Game 5 is set for 12:30 p.m. Central in Colorado Springs.
Sky Sox reliever Wily Peralta struggled with his control from the start in the 10th. He plunked leadoff hitter Jacob Wilson and allowed an infield single by Patrick Wisdom to put two runners on, A sacrifice bunt and walk then loaded the bases before Peralta struck out Tommy Edman for the second out.
But a bases-loaded walk scored Wilson and a wild pitch allowed Wisdom to cross for a 9-7 lead. A two-run single by Tyler O’Neill then gave the Redbirds all the cushion they would need.
Consecutive two-out singles by Kyle Wren and Ivan De Jesus kept the game going to set up an RBI single by Chris Colabello to make it 11-8.
But Memphis reliever Josh Lucas forced Nate Orf into a groundout to end the game, which lasted 3 hours, 37 minutes, second-longest in franchise postseason history.
Colorado Springs had forced extra innings after a two-run homer by Wren (three RBIs Saturday) tied the game at 7-7 in the eighth.
Earlier, back-to-back doubles by Tyler O’Neill and Jose Adolis Garcia pushed across three runs and put Memphis ahead 7-5 in the top of the seventh inning. The Redbirds scored four runs in the seventh against reliever Michael Blazek..
The Sky Sox had pulled ahead 4-3 on a head scratcher in the fifth inning that saw Memphis commit an error and a mental mistake that allowed a run to score.
The situation developed after Sky Sox right fielder Nate Orf reached on a two-out walk. He then stole second with the throw by catcher Jeremy Martinez sailing into center field. Memphis’ O‘Neill then lofted a weak-armed throw to second base, allowing Orf to continue past third and slide home easily.
Colorado Springs catcher Tyler Heineman (three RBIs Saturday) continued his strong performance when he followed up a good throw to second to put out an attempted steal by Memphis’s Garcia with a solo home run in the bottom of the same sixth inning for a 5-3 edge.
Sky Sox starter Bubba Derby gave the hosts a fine start with a perfect game bid entering the fifth that ended suddenly with a solo home run by Garcia to make it 3-1, Sky Sox. Memphis then connected for three consecutive singles to cut the lead to 3-2 before a double play allowed a base runner to cross and tie the game at 3-3.
Derby’s’ strong start allowed Colorado Springs to build an early 3-0 lead thanks to five hits, including two doubles in the second.