Zokan Dominates But Birds Fall In Heartbreaker
By Adam Bertsch
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Jake Zokan threw eight outstanding innings for the Sioux Falls Canaries(11-7), but the St. Paul Saints(9-10) were able to walk off against the bullpen on Friday night, 3-2.
Birds starter, Jake Zokan was locked into a pitchers' duel with Ryan Zimmerman through six innings of play.
The Saints came the closest to scoring in bottom of the first when Alonzo Harris was thrown out by KC Huth at the plate. St. Paul had runners on the corners three batters later when Chris Chinea took a hard fly ball into the right field corner. Logan Landon make the running grab with both runners tagging. Landon's throw came into second base where Chesny Young was thrown out for the 9-6 double play. Nate Samson at third was ruled to not have crossed the plate before the tag at second to keep the game scoreless.
Both pitchers settled in after that.
The scoring got started by the Canaries in the top of the seventh when Alay Lago hit an RBI double into the right-center field gap on a perfectly executed hit-and-run play with Jabari Henry running from first. Two batters later, Lago scored on a Logan Landon RBI single to give Sioux Falls a 2-0 advantage.
St. Paul gained a leadoff triple by Max Murphy in the bottom of the eighth. He scored one batter later on a ground ball from John Silviano to cut the deficit to 2-1.
The Birds drew a leadoff walk in the top of the ninth that chased Zimmerman from the game, but Paul Voelker retired the Canaries in order after that.
Nicco Blank came on to pitch the bottom of the ninth for Sioux Falls in relief of Zokan. Nate Samson was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Young then reached on an error by Andrew Ely. Chris Chinea was also hit by a pitch to load up the bases. Josh Allen hit a sacrifice fly to left that scored Samson, tying the game at two. Max Murphy then hit a hard line drive to deep left field over the head of Ryan Brett to allow Young to score from second and earn the Saints the walk-off win.
Sioux Falls and St. Paul meet for the second game of the three game series Saturday July 25. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. on Nine Innings of Winning night. Lots of prizes will be given out throughout the game; fans can buy tickets here. Birds fans can find information on how to watch and listen at SFCanaries.com.