Bircher And The Birds Fall 2-1 In Season Opener

Posted: 5/19/2017


SIOUX FALLS, SD – The Sioux Falls Canaries opened the 2017 American Association schedule against the Sioux City Explorers on Thursday night at Mercy Field and Lewis & Clark Park. The Birds received a strong performance from starting pitcher Joe Bircher, but a lack of run support resulted in a 2-1 loss in the series opener.

Bircher gave up two runs on three hits in the bottom of the first inning. The southpaw settled in nicely over his final six innings of work, retired 17 of his final 21 batters face. Bircher compiled six strikeouts along the way, walking one batter in the loss.

Sioux City’s starting pitcher James Needy earned the win in his first start of the season. The right-hander allowed one run on five hits while striking out nine batters over 5 1/3 innings of work. Closer PJ Francescon picked up his first save of the season for Sioux City after a 1-2-3 top of the 9th inning.

Blake Schmit paced the Canaries offensive attack, going 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored. Ty Morrison also had a good night in his Canaries debut. The speedy outfielder finished the night going 2-for-4 with an RBI.

The Canaries are back in action on Friday night with a 7:05 PM first pitch in Sioux City. Right-hander Bryce Morrow will make his first start of the season for the Birds.

Morrow pitched in 18 games for the Atlantic League’s Somerset Patriots in 2016, compiling a 4-2 record and 5.20 ERA. Prior to signing with the Patriots, Morrow spent four seasons in the San Diego Padres system, posting a 17-20 record and 4.31 ERA in 47 starts and 72 total appearances.

The Sioux Falls Canaries will host the 2017 Home Opener on Saturday, May 20th at the Birdcage. The Birdcage gates will open at 5:00 PM with the first 1,000 fans receiving a FREE Canaries Magnet schedule, courtesy of First PREMIER Bank Card. Current Canaries players and coaches will be on hand inside the main concourse area to help assist in the official opening of the Birdcage gates.

For more information about season tickets and corporate opportunities, call the Canaries ticket office at (605) 336-6060 or visit