Sioux Falls, SD-- A two-run first inning by the Winnipeg Goldeyes set the tone for the rest of Thursday’s game, as the team from Canada held on for a 10-7 win over the Sioux Falls Canaries at the Birdcage. The Birds dug themselves into an early hole they couldn’t quite get out of, with the Goldeyes scoring the first nine runs of the game on Canary starter Matt Wickswat (2-6). Sioux Falls first baseman A.J. Kirby-Jones supplied part of the offense with a three-run home run for Sioux Falls, who came into the night winning three of their last four games and looking to take a 2-0 advantage in the four-game series.
“The guys weren't throwing in the towel,” said manager Steve Shirley. “We were down pretty big there and we did some things to make it a ball game.”
Winnipeg wasted no time making their intentions known Thursday, with Josh Mazzola rocketing a two-run shot over the left field fence to make it 2-0 quick. Things didn’t get any better for the Canaries in the second inning as the Goldeyes crushed Wickswat for four more runs, two of those runs coming after back-to-back errors by Canary infielders.
“It’s out of character,” said Shirley. “If you look at our statistics we’re one of the best defensive teams in the league.”
The Goldeyes’ lead grew to 8-0 in the top of the fifth inning after a lead-otff solo home run from Casey Haerther preceded an RBI single via Luis Alen. Winnipeg center fielder Reggie Abercrombie finished off the nine straight runs with an RBI single of his own the very next inning. Wickswat finished the night having permitted seven earned runs through 5.2 innings while striking out five.
The first Canary runs of the game were produced in the bottom of the sixth when Kirby-Jones slugged his 14th home run of the season well over the left field fence, though the Goldeyes responded with one more score in the top of the ninth. Sioux Falls tried to conjure up a rally in the final inning, getting four runs on Winnipeg reliever Chris Kissock. However, a grounder by Chris Duffy couldn’t escape the infield and the Goldeyes went on to knot up the series.
Both teams will return to the Birdcage tomorrow night for a 7:05 pm tilt. There will be postgame fireworks presented by Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital, Orthopedic Institute and All-Star Fireworks, along with in-game social media promotions on Facebook and Twitter all game long.