Sioux Falls Canaries’ Offense Struggles in 3-1 Loss to Lincoln Saltdogs
LINCOLN, NE – Joe Bircher again had a good outing for the Canaries, but the Birds’ bats couldn’t help out their starter, as Sioux Falls fell to the Lincoln Saltdogs on Tuesday night 3-1.
Bircher, who’s from Omaha and had plenty of family and friends in the stands, gave up a first inning solo home run to Curt Smith, a no-doubter moonshot to put the Dogs up 1-0 early. Bircher settled into a groove, though, and pitched six effective innings, giving up three runs on eight hits, walking two and striking out six. It was his eighteenth quality start in two-plus years that he hasn’t been rewarded with a win due to a lack of run support.
The Birds manufactured their lone run in the second inning. Taylor Zeutenhorst singled to start the second, then stole second. Jake Taylor singled, sending Zeutenhorst to third. Blake Schmit then hit a long fly ball to center, deep enough for Zeutenhorst to tag up from third and score on a sacrifice fly.
The Dogs took the lead in the fourth after Brandon Jacobs tripled on a long fly ball to the right field corner. Pat McKenna then drove Jacobs in with a RBI single. They pushed their lead to two with a towering homer from Christian Ibarra to lead off the fifth.
The Birds threatened multiple times to tie the game or even take the lead, routinely getting players into scoring position and putting seven hits on the board. However, on par with the season, they couldn’t seem to string the hits together to do any damage.
Lincoln starter Lindsey Caughel looked good all night long, scattering six hits over seven innings and allowing one run while striking out seven. His ERA on the season is now sub-2 at 1.86.
The Birds look to take the rubber match tomorrow night at 6:35 before returning to The Birdcage this weekend. Matt Bywater will make his second start for the Canaries on Wednesday night and will be facing right-hander Shairon Martis. The Birds will return to The Birdcage on Thursday night to play a four-game set against North Division rival St. Paul. 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