Birds Fall Short In High-Scoring Tussle With Cleburne
PHOTO: Erin Bormett / Sioux Falls Canaries
Four runs in the first inning and two home runs after that weren't quite enough for the Sioux Falls Canaries, who fell to the host Cleburne Railroaders 11-9 on Sunday night. The game finished up the season-opening four-game series between the two teams.
Alay Lago had five RBIs for the Birds, including a three-run home run to tie the game in the seventh. Newcomer Christian Hollie also hit a home run in his first game as a Canary.
The game started off with a bang: Seven combined runs came across in the first inning. Cleburne starter Michael Gunn walked the bases loaded in the top of the inning, and Lago drove in two with an RBI single.
The next batter, Mike Hart, hit a hard ground ball to third. Third baseman Chase Simpson misplayed the grounder, allowing two runs to score on his E-5.
Trailing 4-0 before they had a chance to bat, Cleburne rallied in the bottom half against Sioux Falls starter Spencer Herrmann. Nick Rotola led off the inning with an infield single. Two batters later, Simpson earned some redemption with a two-run home run. An RBI double from Hunter Clanin would make it 4-3 after one.
A Kevin Taylor sacrifice fly gave the Birds a 5-3 edge after two, but Cleburne erased the deficit in the third. Levi Scott hit a two-run home run off Herrmann to the the game at 5.
Herrmann went four innings for Sioux Falls, allowing five runs (four earned) on three hits, walking three and striking out six.
The Birds re-took the lead in the top of the fourth. Hollie, a rookie out of the University of Texas - Arlington signed hours before first pitch, took Cleburne starter Michael Gunn deep for his first professional home run.
Gunn grinded out six innings of work, allowing six runs (three earned) on five hits, walking six and striking out four.
Things stayed quiet until the bottom of the sixth. Sioux Falls reliever Trevor Jaunich, on for his second inning of work, walked back-to-back batters with one out. That prompted Canaries manager Mike Meyer to bring in Ryan Flores to pitch.
Cleburne got to Flores quickly. Rotola singled to load the bases, and Zach Nehrir hit a bases-clearing triple to give the Railroaders the lead. Nehrir would score on a sacrifice fly from Simpson, making it 9-6 Cleburne.
The lead was gone as soon as it came when Lago took Bubby Rossman deep to tie the score at 9.
Cleburne delivered the decisive blow in the bottom of the eighth. after a Clanin walk and a Logan Trowbridge single. Kenny Meimerstorf delivered a two-run double to make it 11-9.
Martire Garcia worked a six-out save for the Railroaders, striking out three.
The Canaries travel to Grand Prairie, Texas to face the Texas AirHogs on Monday. Alex Boshers will start for the Canaries. Texas' starter has not yet been announced. Birds fans can listen to the game on Sioux Falls Sports Radio 98.1 FM and AM 1230 KWSN.