Sioux City Explorers 5/20/12
Pheasants notch first victory in grand style
Morales, Nicolas combine for 10 RBI
SIOUX FALLS – A shuffle of the lineup may have been all the Sioux Falls Pheasants needed to earn their first victory of 2012.
After batting in the eighth spot for the first two games of the season, Pheasants shortstop Cory Morales was promoted to the second slot. He responded with two hits and four RBI, including a three-run home run to break a 3-3 tie in the sixth inning and pace the Pheasants to a 12-5 win against the Sioux City Explorers on Sunday afternoon.
Hear the game highlights here:
Cesar Nicolas, batting third for the first part of the series, moved to the cleanup spot and finished a triple shy of the cycle, capped by a grand slam in the seventh inning to pad a 12-3 lead before 2,342 fans. Nicolas finished 3-for-5 with six RBI and two runs scored.
“We wanted to take a look at putting some guys in different places in the lineup, and it worked out well today,” said Pheasants manager Steve Shirley. “We have so many new people that we’re trying to fiddle around with where we want to see everybody. We’re pleased it worked out today.”
All but one starter tallied a hit for the Pheasants. Joe Anthonsen, the exception, still contributed two sacrifice hits, a walk and a run scored from the ninth spot.
The Pheasants had leads of 2-0 and 3-2, but Michael Lang and Kris Sanchez each hit game-tying home runs before Morales’ crushing blow.
“There is a difference in approach that you take when batting from second to ninth, and [Morales] was put into a couple different situations and delivered,” Shirley said. “We’ve known Cory was a good hitter, so it’s not where we put him in the lineup as to whether or not he’s going to deliver.”
On the mound, Alan DeRatt set the tone with a five-inning start, the best so far from a Pheasants starter for the young season. He allowed two runs on five hits with four strikeouts and walked none.
“When you get a good solid five-inning start like that, particularly at this time in the season and you’re putting some runs on the board, it will carry you into the latter part of this game,” Shirley said.
Sioux Falls paraded four relievers to keep Sioux City at bay. Despite allowing Sanchez’ solo shot, Rod Scurry (1-0) earned the victory for pitching the sixth in his debut. Kyle Mertins tossed a scoreless seventh to remain untouched for the year. Brandon native Jack Van Leur debuted for the eighth. He struck out the first man he faced, but allowed two inconsequential runs. Cody Evans pitched a scoreless ninth to finish the game.
Jared Bolden, Al Quintana, Mark Shorey and Jake Taylor each had multi-hit performances as part of 16 total hits on the day.
The Pheasants touched Sioux City starter Jason Jarvis (0-1) for six runs and 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings in the loss.
The Pheasants are off on Monday and begin a three-game series with St. Paul Saints at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday, May 22, at Sioux Falls Stadium. It’s a Double Play Tuesday; tickets are 2-for-1. For more information, call the Pheasants at (605) 336-6060 or visit them online at www.sfpheasants.com.