Gary Southshore Railcats 6/29/12
SIOUX FALLS -- The Sioux Falls Pheasants swept a doubleheader on Saturday night against the Gary SouthShore RailCats with 2-0 and 10-1 victories at Sioux Falls Stadium before 2,512 fans.
The Pheasants jumped out to early leads in both games, allowing the pitching staff to take control.
“Whenever we can score runs early the way we did today, you relax, attack the zone more, and it gets their team in swing mode,” Pheasants pitching coach Mike Meyer said.
Peter Gehle (3-3) took the mound in game one. He was strong throughout the Pheasants 2-0 victory, throwing five innings on five hits and fanning five for the win.
“The last two times out he’s been able to throw his 12-6 curveball over the plate, and that’s a huge weapon for him,” Meyer said. “He’s a guy that has a firm fastball from the left side and has a good curveball. When he can throw those over the plate he’s pretty good for us.”
The Pheasants batters backed up Gehle with timely hitting in the third inning. Jonny Kaplan doubled in Al Quintana and Jared Bolden used a sacrifice bunt to score Kaplan for a 2-0 lead.
Listen to Jonny Kaplan's RBI Double: 2012_0630_Kaplan_RBI_double.mp3
The two runs were all the Pheasants needed. The Railcats had runners on base in all but the final inning but could never plate a run in the loss. In every inning, one RailCat struck out.
Tyler Deetjen (0-1) took the loss in his first professional start. He lasted 3 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits while walking one and striking out another.
Cody Evans earned his sixth save of the year by forcing two groundouts and adding a strikeout for a perfect seventh.
In the nightcap, the Pheasants used extra-base hits and three home runs to coast to a 10-1 victory.
Cesar Nicolas’ hitting streak ended at 19-games in game one, but he quickly started a new one with an RBI double in the first inning. He smashed a ball off of the right field wall, eluding Mike Massaro’s leap, to score Bolden for an early 1-0 lead.
Listen to Nicolas' RBI double: 2012_0630_Nicolas_RBI_double.mp3
The Pheasants used the longball in the next three innings to further extend the lead. Morales cracked a two-run home run in the second inning, Trevor Lawhorn struck for a two-run home run in the third inning and Kaplan hit a solo home run for a 6-0 lead in the fourth inning.
Listen to Morales' home run: 2012_0630_Morales_home_run.mp3
Listen Lawhorn's home run: 2012_0630_Lawhorn_home_run.mp3
Listen to Jonny Kaplan's home run: 2012_0630_Kaplan_home_run.mp3
The Birds lead the American Association with 43 home runs.
“I still don’t really look at this team as a home run team. I look at us as a good-hitting team,” said Pheasants manager Steve Shirley. “I’m not really surprised that we hit home runs, but I really never thought of us as a team that was going to hit league-leading home runs.
The Pheasants tacked four more runs on the board in the sixth inning. Nicolas highlighted the frame with a two-RBI double, and Mark Shorey capped the inning with a run-scoring single to give the Pheasants a 10-0 lead.
Listen to Nicolas' two-run double: 2012_0630_Nicolas_two_run_double.mp3
Nicolas went 2-for-4 in game two with three RBI, while Shorey was 2-for-3 with one RBI.
Pheasants starter Mark Michael (5-2) sought a complete game shutout in the seventh inning, but a wild-pitch broke up the attempt when it scored an unearned run. Michael has still pitched the last 14 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run.
The RailCat run also snapped a stretch of 23 shutout innings for Pheasants pitching.
Michael (5-2) was locked in his first complete game win this year. He hurled all seven innings, allowing only one run (unearned) on three hits while striking out two batters.
“In these last starts it’s been his ability to command his fastball down in the zone,” said Meyer. “Plus, he’s been doing a good job at getting ahead, using that fastball down in the zone, so he can get to his off-speed pitches.”
Michael has won four consecutive starts.
Railcats starter Kyle Wilson (1-3) suffered the complete-game loss by tossing six innings, giving up ten runs on 13 hits. He also struck out one, but walked three batters.
Morales was the only Pheasants batter to post multi-hit performance in both games, going a combined 6-for-7 with two RBI. Kaplan and Bolden collected RBI in each contest.
“I was thrilled to sit back and watch the games,” said Shirley. “It was enjoyable for me to just sit back and watch these games, seeing what we were doing.”
Game three of the four-game series with Gary SouthShore is at 2:05 p.m. on Sunday, July 1 at Sioux Falls Stadium. Come to Sioux Falls Stadium for an afternoon of fairy fun promotions as the Pheasants celebrate Princess Day. Attend for the opportunity to meet Miss South Dakota USA 2012, Taylor Neisen and Miss South Dakota Teen USA 2012 Kalani Jorgensen!
Notes: Cesar Nicolas’ hitting streak ended at 19-games in game one, the third longest in team history. He batted 30-for-74 and raised his average go from .227 to .317.