Canaries Drop Opener in Sioux City 7-5
By Aaron Rosenberg
SIOUX CITY, IA - Rain delayed the start of tonight's game for an hour, but the Canaries and Explorers were finally able to get underway at 8:05 PM in Sioux City. The skies stayed clear for the remainder of the night and the teams were able to play a full nine innings.
Sioux City jumped on the board first when Omar Mesa, Andres Perez and Rene Tosoni each singled off of Joe Bircher to start the game and Nate Samson and Amos Ramon hit sacrifice flies to put the Explorers up 3-0. Bircher settled in nicely after the first and held the Explorers scoreless through the 5th, allowing the Canaries bats to chip away at the deficit.
The Canaries scored their first run in the 4th off starter Wade Morrison. Shelby Ford led the inning off with a single and was moved to third on a base hit from AJ Kirby-Jones. Chris Valencia's sacrifice fly to left brough in Ford and cut the Explorers' lead to 3-1. In the 6th, the Canaries took the lead 4-3 on Kirby-Jones's three-run homer, scoring Brandon Jones and Shelby Ford who had each singled. The Birds would tack on one more run in the inning on Stephen Branca's infield single with two outs, which scored Carlos Mendez and gave the Canaries a 5-3 lead.
Nate Samson led off the 6th with a homerun for Sioux City and that cut the Canaries lead down to one run, 5-4. Bircher escaped the inning without further damage and finished his night having thrown six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and striking out two without walking a batter.
Erick Gonzalez took over for the Canaries in the 7th and retired his first five hitters before hitting Tom Mendonca and walking Amos Ramon consecutively with two outs in the 8th. Manager Steve Shirley summoned Alan DeRatt out of the bullpen for a four-out save, but Dillon Usiak promptly hit a double off the right-field wall to hand the lead back to Sioux City. Todd Jennings followed with an RBI single to score Usiak and the Canaries trailed 7-5 by the end of the inning.
Chris Bodishbaugh earned his fourth save of the sesaon by shutting down the Canaries in the 9th. Jimmer Kennedy earned the win for the Explorers, throwing 2.1 scoreless innings of relief, improving to 2-4. Starter Wade Morrison took the no decision and allowed five runs, four earned, in 5.2 innings of work. Morrison allowed nine hits and struck out four while walking just one. Erick Gonzalez dropped to 0-3 for the Canaries.
The teams return to action Saturday night in Sioux City. First pitch will be at 7:05 PM and fans can listen live on AM 1230 and FM 98.1 KWSN or stream via KWSN.com.