Joe Bircher Pitches Sioux Falls Canaries to Third Straight Win
By: J.J. Hartigan
The Sioux Falls Canaries (26-45) earned their third straight win on Friday night after defeating the Texas AirHogs by the final score of 2-1 in front of a sold-out crowd of 4,556 fans at Sioux Falls Stadium.
Canaries starting pitcher Joe Bircher put together another fantastic outing on Friday night, holding the AirHogs to one un-earned run on seven hits over seven innings. The left-hander gave up his lone run in the top of the first inning after a pair of defensive errors allowed Juan Sanchez to score.
Bircher (2-6, 2.64 ERA) settled down after his rocky first inning, and held the AirHogs offense to just four hits over his final six innings of work. The left-hander retired eight straight batters at one point raking up four strikeouts along the way.
The Omaha, NE native ran into a small jam in the top of the 6th inning after giving up a one-out single to Nick Akins, but got some help from his defense, forcing Brian Bistagne to ground into the inning ending 6-4-3 double play. The AirHogs had two men on with nobody out in the top of the 7th, but the Birds defense once again help Bircher out of the jam, with a pair of groundouts, including a 4-6-3 double play to put two outs on the board before Michael Hur grounded out to the shortstop to end the inning.
Bircher has been one of the most dominant starting pitchers in the American Association over the last two weeks, holding opponents to just one unearned run over his last 21 innings. With the win on Friday night, Bircher’s 2.64 ERA is now the third best ERA in the league this season.
The Canaries had another good offensive night from centerfielder Ethan Chapman, who went 2-for-4 with the eventual winning run scored in the bottom of the 5th inning. Chapman led off the inning with a solid single into right field before stealing second base, and scoring on a Blake Schmit RBI sac-fly.Chapman has now hit safely in four of his last five games, going 11-for-21 (.524) during that stretch with a double, two triples and five runs scored.
Rubi Silva also had a good night at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a run scored in the win. The Cuban born outfielder has now hit safely in five straight games, going 8-for-19 (.421) with a double, four RBI, and four runs scored.
The Sioux Falls Canaries continue their weekend series against the Texas AirHogs on Saturday night, going for the series win at 6:05 PM with RHP Stephen Bougher (1-5, 3.67 ERA) making his 13th start of the season against AirHogs RHP Cody Hebner (3-8, 6.55 ERA). Saturday night’s game is sponsored by Sioux Falls Federal Credit Union, with the first 500 fans receiving a FREE Canaries koozie.
Contact the Canaries ticket office for information regarding single game or season ticket options by calling 605-336-6060 or visit the website at www.sfcanaries.com for more information.