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Hill's Gem, Nieto's Bat Help Birds Clinch Series
Seven strong innings from Taylor Hill and another big game from catcher Adrian Nieto added up to a win for the Sioux Falls Canaries on Tuesday afternoon.
The Birds knocked off the Texas AirHogs 6-2, locking up the second game of their three-game set after an 18-6 win Monday night.
Nieto opened the game's scoring with a solo home run in the first inning, his second homer of the year and his eighth RBI. An RBI single from Alay Lago later in the frame made it 2-0 Birds.
Texas scored their first run in the bottom of the first. Jonathan Moroney, playing his first game since returning from the disabled list, scored from second on a Mike Hart passed ball to make it 2-1.
The Birds would respond in the top of the second. With two on and two out, Canary third baseman Mitch Glasser hit a fly ball to left field. Texas left fielder Stewart Ijames misplayed the ball, and two runs scored on the error.
That brought up Nieto, who brought Glasser in with an RBI double. It was Nieto's eighth RBI of the season and sixth in his last two games.
That was all the run support Canaries pitching would need. Hill allowed just four hits in his seven innings, allowing just the first-inning unearned run. He walked three and struck out four.
The score was still 5-1 when Kevin Simmons replaced Hill on the mound in the eighth. After giving up a single and a walk, he allowed an RBI single from Moroney to make it 5-2.
With Ijames at the plate representing the tying run, Canaries manager Mike Meyer sent Luis Pollorena to the mound. The left-hander got Ijames to fly out, and a ground ball from Luo Jinjun ended the inning.
Clint Coulter hit a solo home run in the ninth for the Canaries. His first blast of the year brought the game to its final score.
The Canaries and AirHogs finish up their series with another early start, squaring off at 11am Wednesday. Sam Bragg will start for the Birds; Zech Lemond will pitch for Texas. Birds fans can listen in on Sioux Falls Sports Radio 98.1 FM and AM 1230 KWSN and at kwsn.com.