Canaries Lose Series Opener in Lincoln
Lincoln, Neb- The Sioux Falls Canaries (26-52) continued their week long roadtrip on Thursday night, opening up a four-game series against the Lincoln Saltdogs (40-35) at Haymarket Park, hoping that a change of scenery would be what they needed to snap their most recent five-game losing streak.
The Birds' offense jumped out to an early 7-0 lead in the top of the first, scoring seven runs on eight hits in a 12 at-bat inning, sparked by an AJ Kirby-Jones two-run homerun (17), but would not score another run the rest of the night.
Starting pitcher Kyle Vazquez (5-6) pitched a scoreless bottom of the first, but labored in the second inning, allowing five runs on five hits in the frame, including a two-run double from Lincoln's shortstop Mike Gilmartin, who finished the night 2-for-4 at the plate with two RBI and two runs scored.
The Saltdogs would add an additional run in the bottom of the third on a Brian Pinckney RBI single, but trailed 7-6 going into the bottom of the seventh.
Joe Testa (0-3) relieved Vazquez in the bottom of the seventh, walking leadoff batter Jon Gaston on four pitches before giving up, what appeared to be, an RBI double off the centerfield wall to designated hitter Ian Gac.
After meeting near second base, the umpires changed the call, ruling the blast a two-run homerun, Gac's 18th this season, giving Lincoln the 8-7 lead.
Lincoln's closer Marshall Schuler worked a scoreless top of the ninth to lock down his franchise-record setting 28th save of the year, and fifth save in five games.
With the win, Lincoln won their fifth straight, and moves into a tie for first place in the American Association's central division with the Gary South-shore Railcats.
The Canaries, who have now lost six in a row, will turn to Omaha,Nebraska native Joe Bircher (3-6), looking to snap their recent stretch of bad luck. Pregame coverage starts on Friday night at 6:45 on AM 1230 and FM 98.1 KWSN.