Canaries Tie Sioux City In First Preseason Game
The Sioux Falls Canaries and Sioux City Explorers called it even after 9 innings on Wednesday night. The I-29 rivals played to a 2-2 tie in Moville, Iowa, wrapping up the spring training opener for the Birds.
"Offensively it's exactly what we wanted it to look like," Canaries manager Mike Meyer said after the game. "We had some really good at-bats; we just didn't get the big swing."
Chris Grayson, whom the Canaries acquired from Fargo-Moorhead in the offseason, opened the scoring with a solo home run in the second inning. The first hit of a 3-for-4 performance, his blast was a no-doubter out to left field.
"It's exactly the Grayson that hurt us last year when he was in Fargo, driving the ball the other way," Meyer said of the lefty hitter. "He's going to be a huge piece in our lineup."
Sioux Falls would add another run in the second on a sacrifice fly from Mike Hart, scoring Tyler Wolfe on a close play at the plate.
The Explorers responded in the sixth, when Daniel Jackson scored on a wild pitch from Canaries reliever Nicco Blank. A fielder's choice tied the game at 2 the following inning.
Canaries starter Joe Bircher started his fifth year with the Birds off on a high note, pitching three shutout innings. He allowed two hits, one walk, and struck out four.
"He was in command of pretty much whatever he wanted to do out there," Meyer said of Bircher. "We need hum to be a big piece for us in the rotation, so that was a good way for him to start the 2018 campaign."
The Canaries flashed the leather in the exhibition as well. Center fielder Dan Motl made a sliding catch at the wall to end the fifth inning, and Grayson preserved the tie in the eighth with a running catch to end the frame.
The Birds and Explorers play again on Thursday in Vermillion. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.