Birds Fall Short In Pitchers' Duel, Lose Game One To Saints

Posted: 6/8/2018

Fritze_pitching.jpgPhoto courtesy Ry Tupper Photography

The Sioux Falls Canaries fell short in a tight one on Friday night, dropping the opening game of their three-game series with the St. Paul Saints 2-1 in front of 9,033 fans at CHS Field.

The game featured two strong starting pitching performances, from Cesilio Pimentel for the Canaries and Matt Solter for the Saints. The two arms combined to allow two runs (one earned) in 11.2 innings.

Pimentel, starting in place of the injured Grady Wood, blinked first, allowing a Brady Shoemaker RBI single in the first inning to give the Saints a 1-0 lead.

Both pitchers held steady from there, not allowing a run through the end of the sixth inning. Solter was in cruise control for much of his outing, allowing just one hit through the first six frames.

Pimentel had a tricker time, working out of second-and-third james in the third and fourth innings. The Saints loaded the bases with two out in the sixth, prompting Mike Meyer to pull Pimentel.

The Dominican left-hander allowed one run on five hits in 5.2 innings in his first start as a Canary, walking two and striking out two.

Kyle Schepel inhereted Pimentel's bases-loaded jam, and struck out Justin O'Conner to end the inning.

The Birds would plate their run the following frame when Maxx Garrett singled home Burt Reynolds, who had reached on an error.

The bases-loaded single brought up Dan Motl with the bases still full and one out.

Motl flew out to left, prompting Jordan Smith, the runner on third, to tag up and try to score.

As Smith was approaching the plate, Saints left fielder Richard Prigatano threw to third, where a tagging Tyler Wolfe was trying to take an extra bag. Wolfe was tagged out at third base for an inning-ending double play.

Home plate umpire Ron Teague ruled Smith had not touched home plate when the tag was applied, so the run did not count. Meyer immediately argued the call with Teague, but it was not changed.

The game's winning run scored in the bottom of the seventh, when Max Murphy scored on a throwing error by Birds shortstop Blake Schmit. It was Schmit's second error of the game.

The Birds put the tying run on first in the bottom of the ninth, but Saints closer Tom Wilhelmsen struck out Mike Hart to seal the win.

The Canaries will look to even the series on Saturday night, with ace of staff Joe Bircher taking the mound. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. at CHS Field.