Sioux Falls Canaries’ Comeback Falls Short Against St. Paul Saints
SIOUX FALLS, SD – The Canaries found themselves with ample opportunities to tie the game and even win the game late, but couldn’t seem to find the key hit as they fell 5-4 to the St. Paul Saints on Thursday night.
Starter Stephen Bougher had another quality outing, pitching five innings, allowing three runs on six hits, walking five and striking out four. Bougher put the Birds in a position to mount a comeback late in the game, after escaping two bases loaded jams with minimal damage.
The Saints cracked the scoresheet in the second inning. Tony Thomas singled to lead off the inning, then advanced to third on a single by Mike Gilmartin. Willie Argo then walked, loading the bases with no one out. Aaron Gretz grounded out to the right side of the infield, allowing Thomas to score from third. But Bougher locked in, striking out Sam Maus for out number two, then fielding his own position in a 1-3 putout for out number three.
The Saints built their lead in the fourth, starting with a leadoff double from Mike Gilmartin. After a Willie Argo popout, Aaron Gretz singled, driving in Gilmartin from second to push the lead to 2-0 St. Paul. But again, Bougher locked in for the final two outs of the frame, striking out Maus and Alonzo Harris.
St. Paul’s lead swelled to 3-0 in the fifth. Brady Burzynski walked to lead off the inning. Nate Hanson then singled, putting runners at first and second, and Angelo Songco singled to load the bases. Tony Thomas singled, driving in Burzynski. Bougher, once again, danced out of danger, retiring the next two batters and earning an inning-ending double play.
The Canaries began their comeback in the bottom of the fifth. Taylor Zeutenhorst led off the inning with a sharp single. After a Nolan Johnson popout, Frank Martinez broke a string of 20 straight innings of scoreless baseball for the Birds with a two-run blast to right, cutting the lead to 3-2.
The Birds threatened to take the lead in the sixth by loading the bases. David Bergin and Jake Taylor walked, then Blake Schmit singled with one away to load the bases. But they couldn’t seem to find the timely hit, as Zeutenhorst popped out and Nolan Johnson flew out to center to end the threat.
Jimmer Kennedy came in during the seventh inning to relieve Josh Ferrell, who pitched a shutout sixth inning. Nate Hanson lead off the inning with a double, then advanced to third on a wild pitch. Tony Thomas walked, putting runners at the corners with one away. Gilmartin drove in Hanson on a sacrifice fly to push the lead to two at 4-2.
The Canaries responded in the bottom of the seventh. Frank Martinez lead off with a double and eventually came around to score, cutting the lead to 4-3.
The battle continued into the eighth, as St. Paul again would score. Alonzo Harris doubled with one away and advanced to third on an error by left fielder Taylor Zeutenhorst. Burzynski would drive in Harris with a sacrifice fly to center, pushing the lead to 5-3.
The Birds wouldn’t go down without a fight, though. Nolan Johnson started off the bottom of the ninth with a bang, doubling off of Saints closer Ryan Rodebaugh. With two down in the inning, Ozney Guillen made things interesting, sending a sharp single back up the middle to score Johnson from second to make it a 5-4 ballgame. David Bergin stepped up to the plate representing the winning run, but skied a 1-0 pitch out left for the final out.
The Birds continue their four-game series against St. Paul on Friday night, with first pitched scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Lefty Misael Siverio will throw for the Canaries, looking to rebound after a tough outing last Sunday. As always, Fridays are also fireworks nights at The Birdcage, presented by All Star Fireworks and sponsored by Orthopedic Institute and Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital. 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.
By Scott Lemon