Big First Inning From Sioux City Sinks Birds In Series Opener

Posted: 5/22/2018

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The X's jumped ahead early, and never looked back.

The Sioux City Explorers scored six runs in the first inning of Game 1 of their series with the Sioux Falls Canaries on Tuesday night, hanging on from there for an 8-2 win at Sioux Falls Stadium.

The X's connected for seven hits in the first inning, six of which were singles. Three hits did not leave the infield, two of which came on bunts.

Nate Samson, Jay Baum and Daniel Jackson all had RBI singles in the frame. Dexter McCall capped the scoring off with a two-run double to make it 6-0.

Canaries starter Jim Patterson settled down after the rough first inning, giving up three hits over his final four innings of work. He finished with seven runs allowed over five innings, striking out five and walking none.

"It was a good bounce-back for him and a confidence-builder for our guys behind him," Canaries manager Mike Meyer said. "We've just got to do a better job of making plays behind him."

The Birds got a run back in the second on an RBI single from Sioux Falls native Patrick Fiala. It was Fiala's first RBI of the year.

"Pat's a good player in this league," Meyer said. "He's been capable in the years he's been here in Sioux Falls, and we're expecting big things from him offensively."

Blake Schmit drove in Dan Motl with a squeeze play in the third inning to cut the Sioux City lead to 6-2.

The next hitter, Jabari Henry, fouled a ball off to the right side. Explorers second baseman Nelson Ward chased after the ball near the edge of the field of play and fell, clutching his knee.

Ward was examined by team staff on the field for about 30 minutes before exiting the field on a stretcher. Ward was alert and talking to his teammates while being examined. There was no immediate word on his condition.

The Canaries were bit by the injury bug as well. Outfielder Ty Morrison was replaced in the fourth inning for what Meyer called a precautionary reason. Meyer added he's hopeful Morrison "is only down for a day or two."

The Canaries used Miles Nordgren, Cesilio Pimentel and Nicco Blank to finish the game out of the bullpen. The three combined to throw four no-hit innings, allowing one unearned run.

The Birds are back in action tomorrow against the Explorers at 7 p.m. Sioux Falls ace Grady Wood is scheduled to take the mound.

"He's our stopper. Whenever you're not playing well, you have a bad game, it's always nice to have him coming out the next day," Meyer said.

Birds fans can get their tickets by calling 336-6060 or visiting the Sioux Falls Stadium box office.