Birds Drop Finale To AirHogs In Ninth

Posted: 7/1/2018

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Photo courtesy Ry Tupper Photography

The Sioux Falls Canaries had their winning streak snapped on Sunday, losing in a walk-off to the Texas AirHogs 7-6.

Stewart Ijames hit a three-run homer off of Canaries closer James Jones in the bottom of the ninth to give the AirHogs their ninth win of the year.

The Canaries stole nine bases in the game, the most that any team in the American Association has stolen in a single game this year.

The AirHogs (9-30) scored first in the bottom of the first inning on a two-run home run by Dillon Thomas. Thomas' seventh of the year made it 2-0 Texas after one.

The Birds (16-24) would reverse that scoreline over the next several innings, getting within one in the third via a Texas error. An RBI double from Dan Motl and an RBI single from Jordan Smith made it 3-2 Birds in the fourth.

The Birds scored again in the third on an RBI triple by Jabari Henry. Henry limped into third base and was pulled from the game for pinch-runner Mike Hart. There was no immediate word on Henry's condition.

Another RBI single from Smith made it 5-2 Birds in the sixth. A Casio Grider RBI single made it 5-3 in the bottom half of the inning.

Birds starter Joe Bircher went six innings in the series finale, allowing three runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out a season-high six batters.

Nicco Blank pitched the seventh for the Birds, allowing a pinch-hit RBI triple by Chen Chen that cut the lead to one.

The Birds got the run back in the top of the eighth through a Dan Motl RBI single, and Kyle Schepel pitched a perfect frame in the bottom of the inning.

Canaries closer James Jones entered the ninth with a 6-4 lead. With one out, AirHogs center fielder Song Yunqi reached on a dropped third strike. After a walk from Chen Chen, pinch-hitter Chen Junpeng lined out to third for out number two.

That brought up Ijames, who sent an 0-1 pitch into the right-field seats to seal the win.

ON DECK

The Birds hit the road for a three-game series with the Kansas City T-Bones, starting on Monday at 7 p.m. Birds fans can listen to the game on Sioux Falls Sports Radio 98.1 FM and AM 1230 KWSN.