Sioux Falls Canaries Split Double Header Against Gary Railcats Tuesday Night
By Scott Lemon
The Sioux Falls Canaries split a double-header on Tuesday night against the Gary Railcats. The Birds won game one 6-0, but fell in game two 5-1.
Joe Bircher tossed a complete game shutout, and David Bergin and Ethan Chapman both homered, as the Birds topped the Railcats 6-0.
Joe Bircher gave up back-to-back hits to start the day, but then went into cruise control, tossing 120 pitches over his seven innings of work, scattering six hits, not allowing a run, walking two, and striking out five.
The Birds jumped out to an early lead in the second. Bergin laced a one-out single to center, then came all the way around to score on a Cameron Monger double to put the Birds on the board at 1-0.
Sioux Falls powered up to blow the game wide open in the fourth. David Bergin hit a leadoff homer to left, doubling the lead to 2-0. Monger walked, then advanced to second on a B.J. Guinn sacrifice bunt. Aaron Owen walked to put runners at first and second. Michael Pair singled, scoring Monger from second to push the lead to 3-0. Chapman then blew the game wide open with a towering three-run homer to right as the Canaries took a 6-0 lead.
Bircher ran into a small jam in the sixth. Reggie Wilson singled to lead off the inning, then advanced to second on a Frank Martinez single. Both advanced on a groundout, putting runners at second and third with two away. However, Bircher bucked down and got Jose Gonzalez to pop out to end the threat. Bircher would continue his momentum, sitting the Cats down 1-2-3 in the seventh to earn the complete-game shutout victory.
The Railcats used a four-run first inning to push them past the Canaries 5-1 in game two of Tuesday’s double-header.
The Canaries threatened in the first inning to jump out to an early lead. Two singles and a one-out walk loaded the bases for the Birds, but a strike out and a pop out ended the threat as the game stayed scoreless after one half inning.
The Cats had better luck in their half of the first. Gary loaded the bases with three straight singles, then scored the first run of the day courtesy of a bases-loaded walk. Alex Crosby then smashed a RBI single to center, pushing the lead to 2-0. Jaime Del Valle brought home the third run of the frame with a sacrifice fly to left. Elbert Devarie picked up a RBI with a groundout to short, pushing the Gary lead to 4-0.
Starter Stephen Bougher struggled throughout the night, giving up four runs on 12 hits in five innings of work. However, most of his struggles came in the first and fifth innings.
The Birds got on the board in the top of the second. Aaron Owen got on with a one-out single, then stole second. Ethan Chapman drove him in with a booming double to cut the deficit to 4-1.
Bougher put up zeros in the second, third, and fourth innings, but again ran into trouble in the fifth. Three straight singles started the inning to load the bases with nobody out. Del Valle drove in Chase Harris from third with a fielder’s choice to push the lead to 5-1. The threat loomed until Devarie bounced into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
After Bougher put the Cats down in order in the bottom of the sixth, the Birds looked to mount a comeback. However, a great spectacular diving grab in center and two groundouts ended the game and the comeback attempt for the Canaries as they fell 5-1.
The Canaries and Railcats will square off in game three of the four-game set on Wednesday night. First pitch on Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. The Canaries return to Sioux Falls on Friday night as they welcome the Lincoln Saltdogs to The Birdcage for the first and only time this season. Friday will be Girl Scouts Night, as well as the final Friday Night All-Star Fireworks display of the 2016 season. 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.