Riding strong pitching and the longball, the Sioux Falls Canaries opened the 2014 regular season with a 5-4 victory over their I-29 rivals, the Sioux City Explorers. 2,485 fans braved the cold and windy conditions to give the Birdcage a festive Opening Day atmosphere.
Brandon Jones got the party started with a two-run blast to right-center in the bottom of the 1st, putting the Canaries on top 2-0. After falling behind 3-2 in the top of the 4th, Steve Tinoco hit a three-run homer in the bottom half of the inning that put the Canaries back on top 5-3. It was a lead they would not surrender, though it became a nail-biter in the 9th.
Ben Moore turned in a strong performance on the mound, going six strong innings and allowing three runs while striking out nine. The righty did not walk a batter and used his precise command to work both sides of the plate. Moore hit a rough stretch in the 3rd when Sioux City started the inning with four straight hits to score a pair of runs and tie the game at 2. However, his strong mental makeup allowed him to stay composed and he stranded a pair of runners to end the inning. Moore got stronger as the game went on and struck out the side in the 6th to finish his outing and earn his first win of the season.
Kaohi Downing worked a scoreless 7th, starting a double-play on a comebacker in the process. After Josh Giles kept the Explorers off the scoreboard in the 8th, it was up to Alan DeRatt to close it in the 9th. The Explorers started the inning with a pair of singles and sent the go-ahead run to the plate with nobody out. While they scored one run on the ensuing sacrifice fly, left-fielder Brandon Jones threw a rifle to second base to turn a double-play on the tagging Luke Murton. DeRatt then retired Nate Samson to preserve the Canaries first victory of the 2014 season.
The series continues tomorrow night at the Birdcage at 7:05 PM. All-Star Fireworks will present a special postgame fireworks show. Tickets are available at the box office, by calling 605-336-6060 or by visiting Ticketmaster.com.
Courtesy: Sioux Falls Canaries Aaron Rosenberg