Canaries Drop Series Opener On Wednesday Night
Written By: JJ Hartigan
Sioux Falls, SD--The Sioux Falls Canaries (22-29) entered the second-half of the American Association season at home on Wednesday night, hosting the first-place St. Paul Saints (39-12). The Birds’ hung tough with the league’s top first-half team, but ultimately fell by the final score of 3-1 in front of a crowd of 2,797 at Sioux Falls Stadium.
The Canaries offense got to St. Paul starting pitcher, Jeff Shields (8-0, 3.04 ERA) early on in the bottom of the first inning. David Bergin reached base on a two-out single, and advanced to second on a Brian Humphries base hit, and later scored on an RJ Perucki RBI single.
The Birds’ collected three straight singles in the inning, but were only able to produce the one run, with Shields forcing Richard Stock to ground out to end the inning. Shields settled down after the rocky first, and allowed just three hits over his final six innings.
Canaries starting pitcher Miguel Pena (5-5, 2.47 ERA) faced six different opponents in nine starts during the first 50 games of the season, but the southpaw remained the only Sioux Falls starter not to face the St. Paul Saints in 2015. Pena battled his way out of several tough spots over six innings, but limited one of the league's top offenses to just three runs on 12 hits.
The Birds' Ace held the Saints scoreless over the first two innings, but ran into a jam in the top of the third after giving up back-to-back singles to Alonzo Harris and Willie Argo. Two batters later the Saints tied the game up at 1-1 after designated hitter, Ian Gac drove in Harris on an RBI double. Argo was thrown out at home after trying to score from first. Pena limited the damage after striking out Angelo Songco to end the inning.
The Canaries trailed 3-1 going into the bottom of the ninth inning, but pieced together one final rally against Saints closer Ryan Rodebaugh. Jake Luce led off the inning with a single, and later advanced to second Chris Grayson worked his way on base with a one-out walk. Luce advanced to third-base after Jason Repko reached on a fielder choice after a dropped fly ball by Saints outfielder Mike Kvasnicka. Grayson was thrown out trying to advance to second, leaving runners at first and third with two outs for David Bergin, who struck out to end the game.
Perucki paced the Canaries offensive attack in the loss, going 3-for-4 with an RBI. Jake Luce posted his first multi-hit game with the Birds’, going 2-for-4 with a double.
St. Paul’s Alonzo Harris finished the night 4-for-5 with two RBI’s and a run scored. Gac ended his night 1-for-5 with with a double and an RBI.
With the win, Jeff Shields improved to a perfect 8-0 on the season, and is one of only four pitchers in the American Association who still holds an undefeated record.
The Series continues on Thursday night, with Canaries RHP Stephen Bougher (2-1, 4.58 ERA) toeing the rubber against Saints LHP Pedro Hernandez (5-2, 3.18 ERA).
Thursday night is AmericINN Night and Military Appreciation night, sponsored by Mid-States Audio and Video. Canaries players and coaches will wear Military themed jersey's that will be auctioned off at the end of the 2015 season. Proceeds from these uniforms will benefit SOUTH DAKOTA BIG PAWS CANINE. Fans who show their military I.D. will receive discounted ticket prices. Fans will also have a chance to sign up to win a free night's stay at AmericINN Hotel and Suites!!!
Be sure to come out to the Birdcage early on Thursday night for Cagey's Pre-Game Tailgate Party, with music from The Cartwright Brothers and $1 beers from 5-7 PM!!!
Get your tickets to any Canaries home game this season by contacting the Canaries Ticket Office at (605) 336-6060 or visit www.sfcanaries.com. No matter your schedule, the Canaries have a ticket package for you. Ask a Canaries representative about the weekender, perch packs or E-Z Game Tickets.