Canaries Hang On For Road Win Over Sioux City
PHOTO: RY TUPPER PHOTOGRAPHY
SIOUX CITY, IOWA -- Three RBI singles from Patrick Fiala and a clutch five-out save from Kyle Schepel powered the Sioux Falls Canaries to an upset road win over the Sioux City Explorers on Thursday night at Mercy Field.
The Canaries took a 5-0 lead after three innings and led 6-1 at the seventh-inning stretch, holding off a late Explorers rally for a 6-5 win. The Explorers, in first place in the South Division, failed to clinch a playoff spot with the loss.
The Birds scored two in the second on RBI hits from Jordan Smith and Patrick Fiala. All three hits in the inning came with two outs.
The Birds plated three more in the third. The rally started with a one-out double from Mike Hart, extending his league-best hitting streak to 23 games.
Jabari Henry scored Hart on an RBI single to make it 3-0 Birds.
A Sioux City error allowed the Birds' fourth run to score, and Fiala followed it up with another RBI single to give the Birds a five-run advantage.
Birds starter Jake Esch cruised through the game's early stages, allowing two hits in his first four innings of work. He allowed his first run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Daniel Jackson, making it 5-1.
The Birds got the run back in the seventh on another RBI single by Fiala, his third of the night. He finished 3-for-4, driving in half of the Birds' runs.
Esch ran into trouble in the sixth. The X's loaded the bases with no one out, and Jackson cashed in with a bases-clearing double to make it 6-4.
Ryan Fritze relieved Esch, and got some help from his defense to get out of the inning. Sioux City shortstop Nate Samson hit a fly ball to shallow right. Birds right fielder Mike Hart made an impressive sliding catch, then threw out a tagging Jackson at the plate for the last out of the frame.
The Explorers got within one in the eighth, when former Canary Blake Schmit hit an RBI single off of Fritze. Birds manager Mike Meyer brought Schepel in with the tying run in scoring position.
Schepel struck out Dexture McCall and Jackson back-to-back to get out of the jam.
The Explorers threatened again in the ninth. Luis Durango led off the inning with a walk. Dylan Kelly then hit a ball in to the right-center gap. Center fielder Jordan Smith fired the ball to second baseman Mitch Glasser, who threw out Durango at the plate trying to score.
Schepel struck out the next two batters to seal the win.
The I-29 rivals meet again for another 7:05 p.m. start at Mercy Field on Friday. Mark Seyler is expected to start for the Birds; Jason Garcia will get the nod for Sioux City. Birds fans can tune in to the game on Sioux Falls Sports Radio 98.1 FM and AM 1230 KWSN or online at kwsn.com.