Canaries Escape Winnipeg With 5-3 Win Sunday
By Aaron Rosenberg
WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - Heavy rain overnight nearly kept the Sioux Falls Canaries (31-62) and Winnipeg Goldeyes (59-34) from getting Sunday's game in, but the afternoon provided dry conditions and the Canaries used five unanswered runs to avoid a sweep and win 5-3 in the series finale. Joe Bircher (4-7) went seven strong innings to earn the win and Carlos Mendez provided the game-winning two-run homer in the 8th for the Birds.
Locked in a dead heat through three innings, Bircher and Winnipeg's Ethan Hollingsworth (7-1) each threw up nothing but zeroes through three innings. The Winnipeg bats would break through against Bircher in the 4th when Tyler Kuhn singled, stole second and came around to score on Reggie Abercrombie's single up the middle. The Goldeyes would add another in the 5th when Brock Bond plated home Josh Mazzola and extended their lead to 3-0 in the 6th on Kuhn's seventh RBI of the series. However, the Goldeyes would not score again and Bircher finished his day with a scoreless 7th and allowed just the three runs on seven hits, while striking out six and walking just one.
Hollingsworth held the Canaries off the board for six innings with Sam Lind being the only Bird to reach scoring position during that time on his double in the 6th. The Birds would break through in the 7th with two runs off the righthander. AJ Kirby-Jones doubled to start the frame and came around to score on Carlos Mendez's groundball and Chris Valencia later added a solo homerun to cut the deficit to 3-2. Chris Kissock (0-5) relieved Hollingsworth with two outs in the 7th and finished the inning, but gave up a game-tying double to Kirby-Jones in the 8th scoring Jones. Brendan Lafferty then relieved Kissock and was greeted by Mendez who smoked the two-run homer to put the Birds up 5-3. Kissock was charged with the loss.
Joe Testa tossed a scoreless 8th and Alan DeRatt faced the minimum three hitters in the 9th to pick up his 13th save. The Birds are off Monday and will host the Lincoln SaltDogs in their final homestand of the season beginning Tuesday night. First pitch is at 7:05 PM and anyone making a non-perishable donation to Feeding South Dakota will receive 2-for-1 admission.