GARY, IN (KWSN) - The losing streak hit seven for the Canaries (6-15), whose furious rally from 8-1 down fell just short. Scoring five runs in the final two innings, Chris Valencia came to the plate as the go-ahead run in the 9th and hit a long fly ball to the warning track that fell just short of giving the Canaries the lead. Instead, the Birds fell 8-6 and will have to settle for some late momentum that they will try to carry into the second game of the series Saturday night against the Gary Southshore RailCats (13-8).
Matt Wickswat battled through command issues and held the RailCats to one run in five innings of work despite issuing six walks. The lefthander continuously made big pitches with runners on base and handed the ball to his bullpen with the game tied at 1.
Erick Gonzalez threw a scoreless 6th, but was roughed up in the 7th. Drew Martinez drove in his 20th run of the season and gave the RailCats a 2-1 lead. The Canaries took a gamble and intentionally walked two hitters in the inning, a move that would not pay off. Both beneficiaries would score on a wild pitch and a two-run single from Wally Bachman. With Gary leading 5-1, Gonzalez was relieved by Kirk Clark. Clark's night wasn't any better and he gave up three straight hits, which sent three more Gary RailCats across the plate and the score was 8-1. Gonzalez (0-1) suffered the loss and was charged for six runs in 1.1 innings of work.
The Canaries would not go quietly and Chris Valencia drove in two runs on an 8th inning double. AJ Kirby-Jones would follow with an RBI single and the Canaries were within striking distance 8-4. They made one last stand in the 9th. Stephen Branca led the inning off with a double and Kevin Dultz followed with a single. Drew Muren pushed Branca across on a grounder to make it 8-5. After Brandon Jones drew a walk, Shelby Ford hit a screamer off pitcher James Giulietti's glove and Dultz came around and the Canaries only trailed 8-6. Valencia then lifted a fly ball to the track that came up just short and Giuletti survied to earn his first save of the season and preserve the win for Kyle Brahney (2-0) who threw a scoreless 7th.
First pitch Saturday night is at 6:10 PM and fans can listen live on AM 1230 and FM 98.1 KWSN or stream on KWSN.com. JJ Hartigan will call the play-by-play and Aaron Rosenberg will host the pregame show at 5:45 PM.
Courtesy: Sioux Falls Canaries