( Listen Live! )
Big Fourth Inning Topples Canaries In Season Opener
PHOTO: Erin Bormett / Sioux Falls Canaries
Sometimes one big inning is enough.
The Sioux Falls Canaries dropped their season opener to the Cleburne Railroaders 7-2 on Thursday night. A six-run, 12-batter fourth inning did most of the damage.
Adrian Nieto knocked a two-run home run in the ninth inning for both Canary runs.
The game started out as a pitchers' duel. Birds starter Taylor Hill and Cleburne starter Jesus Sanchez each threw three scoreless innings to begin the game.
Things unraveled for Hill in the fourth. Cleburne right fielder K.C. Huth opened the game's scoring with a two-run double. Two batters later, left fielder Nick Rotola laced an RBI triple to score Huth. The next batter, Zach Nehrir, hit a two-run home run to make it 5-0.
After a walk and an error, Angel Rosa hit an RBI single for the sixth and final run of the inning. Four of the six runs scored with two outs.
Hill went 3.2 innings for Sioux Falls, allowing six runs (five earned) on nine hits. He walked three and struck out four.
His counterpart never slipped up. Sanchez threw seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits with no walks and striking out eight. The Canaries did not reach second base after the first inning against Sanchez.
The Canary bullpen was strong in mop-up duty. Brian Heldman pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, and Luis Pollorena followed him up with two clean frames of his own. Alex Ogren threw the ninth inning, allowing an RBI double to Chase Simpson to make it 7-0.
Nieto provided a silver lining for Sioux Falls, lifting a ninth-inning pitch from reliever Edward Cruz over the right-field wall.
The Canaries and Railroaders meet again Friday night for game two of their season-opening series. Righty Sam Bragg will make the start for Sioux Falls. Lefty Eudis Idrogo will take the mound for the Railroaders. Fans can tune in to the game on Sioux Falls Sports Radio 98.1 FM and AM 1230 KWSN.