Canaries Drop Series Finale to Grand Prairie
By Aaron Rosenberg
SIOUX FALLS, SD - The Canaries came up short in their attempt to win the rubber match of their three game series against the Grand Prairie AirHogs Sunday afternoon, losing 14-4. Poor pitching and three uncharacteristic errors in the first inning sent the AirHogs to a 9-0 lead and they would never look back. The loss dropped the Canaries to 21-35 while the AirHogs improved to 23-32.
Canaries starter Matt Wickswat (2-4) endured his roughest outing of the season, surrendering 11 runs in three innings of work, though just four of them were earned. Wickswat's four walks didn't help his cause, but three errors from third baseman Carlos Mendez in the 1st inning allowed the AirHogs to keep sending men to the plate and they pushed nine runs across while sending 14 batters to the box. In the inning alone, Alex Nunez and Jason Botts each recorded two base hits, while Botts drove in three runs and Eric Baker drove in two. Botts added a two-run homer off Wickswat in the 3rd to push the AirHog lead to 11-0. Botts finished his day with four base hits and raised his RBI total to 38 and the homerun was his team-leading sixth this season.
Kye Winter relieved Wickswat in the 4th and was greeted by Vince DiFazio who hit his first homerun of the season, a two-run shot that made it 13-0. DiFazio added another homer in the 9th off Alan DeRatt. Winter worked two innings allowing the two runs. Josh Giles, Joe Testa and John Brebbia each logged a scoreless inning of relief for the Birds.
That bats eventually got it going for the Canaries. After struggling through the first four frames against AirHog starter Jason Jarvis, Brandon Jones singled home Ty Forney and Steve Tinoco in the 5th. Against lefthander Bennett Whitmore in the 7th, Forney brought home Matt Hitt from third base with a deep groundout and Chris Valencia added the final Canaries run of the day in the 8th with his sacrifice fly. Hitt finished his day 3-4 including two doubles. He has now hit safely in all six games in which he has played since signing with the Canaries.
Jarvis earned the win to improve to 3-1. The righthander went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits, while striking out four and not walking a batter. Whitmore allowed two runs while working the 7th and 8th and Ty'Relle Harris tossed a scoreless 9th to finish the game for Grand Prairie.
The Birds will have an off day Monday and then take on the Laredo Lemurs for three games beginning Tuesday night at the Birdcage. The Birds now trail Laredo by 10 games in the wild card race and will need a strong series to make up ground. First pitch will be at 7:05 PM. Tickets are available at the box office, by calling 336-6060 or via TicketMaster.