Winnipeg Goldeyes 6/18/12
Pheasants walk off winners on first-place Winnipeg
SIOUX FALLS -- The Sioux Falls Pheasants struck for another walk-off victory on Monday night, defeating the first-place Winnipeg Goldeyes, 6-5, for their fourth straight win.
Cesar Nicolas smacked an Alex Jones pitch in between a drawn-in shortstop and third baseman in the ninth inning, bringing Cory Morales home for the Birds’ second walk-off win in three games.
“In that situation I was looking for something out in the zone, something that I could hit into the outfield,” said Nicolas, who is on a season-high, 12-game hitting streak. “He’s a side-armer. So a couple pitches were outside, and I felt I could drive one.”
Nicolas finished the night 3-for-5 with two RBI.
Listen to Nicolas game winning hit: 2012_0618_Nicolas_GW_single.mp3
The game was tied at 4-4 heading into the top of the ninth, but Winnipeg scored run a on a broken-up double play and took a 5-4 lead into the bottom half of the inning.
Max Casper led off the ninth with a bloop single and reached third on a Morales sacrifice and throwing error by Winnipeg closer Kaohi Downing (3-1). Jonny Kaplan followed with a pinch-hit single to plate Casper. Kaplan had not batted in the last week due to injury.
Listen to Kaplan's pinch hit single: 2012_0618_Kaplan_pinch_hit_RBI.mp3
After Jared Bolden sacrificed Morales and Kaplan to advance a base, Nicolas came up to bat and ended the game with the walk-off single.
“You have to have the desire to win and to do the things necessary to win,” said Pheasants manager Steve Shirley. “I think we have a lot of guys out in that locker room that will do whatever it takes to win.”
The Pheasants had an early 2-0 lead when Nicolas and Cristian Guerrero connected for back-to-back, RBI singles in the first inning.
Listen to Nicolas RBI single:2012_06_Ceasar_Nicolas_RBI_single.mp3
Listen to Guerrero's RBI single:2012_06018_Guerrero_RBI_single.mp3
Winnipeg closed the gap in the second inning when David Narodowski’s fielder’s choice scored Ridge Carpenter.
The game stayed at 2-1 until the fifth inning when Chris Roberson smashed the first pitch he saw for a two-run home run and a 3-2 Winnipeg lead.
Winnipeg increased the margin to 4-2 in the sixth inning. Josh Mazzola blasted a ball off the top of the centerfield wall for an RBI triple, scoring Carpenter.
The Pheasants turned to Dusty Gober for a spot start in place of Mark Michael. He pitched five innings, allowing three runs on six hits, while striking out one and walking two.
“We had a situation where the guy starting came in with discomfort in his shoulder, and we went to [Gober]. He gave us a solid five; he gave us a chance to win,” Shirley said.
The Pheasants tied the ballgame up in the seventh inning. Jake Taylor and Casper both scored on plays at the plate from fielder’s choices. Joe Anthosen and Jared Bolden each collected an RBI.
Winnipeg starter Ace Walker pitched eight innings, giving up four runs on seven hits while striking out three and walking two.
Jack Van Leur (1-0) earned the win, striking out the only batter he faced in the ninth inning.
The Pheasants (16-14) pulled to three games behind Winnipeg in the North Division.
“This is the first time we’ve seen them and we came out and battled our butts off. I’m proud of them tonight,” said Shirley.
Game two of the three-game series against Winnipeg is at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19, at Sioux Falls Stadium. It’s a Double Play Tuesday, where grandstand tickets can be purchased 2-for-1. Kids FREE in June also continues tomorrow. Two children 12-and-under can get in free with the purchase of every regular adult-priced ticket, courtesy of Sanford Children’s.
Notes: The Pheasants are on a season-high, four-game winning streak…Cory Morales and Jared Bolden combined for four sacrifice hits…Pheasants pinch-hitters are 2-for-2 with a walk this season…Jared Bolden has an eight-game hitting streak….Pheasants manager Steve Shirley was ejected in the top of the ninth inning.