AMARILLO, TX - Despite the best start from Matt Wickswat in months, the Sioux Falls Canaries (26-50) were unable to complete a win against the Amarillo Sox (24-49), falling 8-5 at Amarillo National Bank Sox Stadium. A pair of fly balls lost in the lights led to four runs for Amarillo in the 7th inning that erased a Canary lead and sent the Sox to the win.
Wickswat struggled out of the gate, allowing four straight hits to start the game and quickly fell behind 3-0. Instead of backing down, the lefty stayed aggressive and settled into a rhythm, not allowing another run through the 6th and giving the Canary bats a chance to claw back into the game. Coming into the game second in the American Association in walks allowed, Wickswat issued just one in the 7th inning tonight and used his improved control to pitch deep and spare the weary bullpen from further heavy use.
The Birds' scoring started in the 3rd inning with Matt singling and Brandon Jones delivering a sacrifice fly to bring him in. The Canaries tied the game in the 4th after Chris Duffy and Carlos Mendez reached on base hits. Duffy scored on Stephen Branca's sacrifice fly and Sam Lind came through with an RBI single to score Mendez. The only lead for the Canaries came in the 7th with Matt Hitt and Steve Tinoco bringing home Chris Valencia and Lind who had reached on base hits to make it 5-3.
Wickswat ran into his first trouble in the 7th inning since the onset of the game. Jeff Farnham led off with a single for Amarillo and Geraldo Valentin drew the only walk of the evening against Wickswat with one out. Josh Giles entered the game and pitched well, but a pair of fly balls vanished in the stadium lights and by the time the inning had mercifully ended, the Sox held a 7-5 advantage after scoring four runs. The Canaries were unable to answer back on the offensive end and lost their third straight in Amarillo.
Giles dropped to 0-5 with the loss while Derek Blacksher improved to 3-8 with his second win out of the bullpen in as many nights. Randy Hamrick earned his third save with a scoreless 9th inning. Wickswat finished his day having gone 6.1 innings, allowing five runs, four earned, on nine hits, while striking out four and walking one. In his first start for Amarillo, Anthony Figliolia took a no-decision by going six innings and allowing five runs, four earned. Figliolia surrendered six hits, struck out two and did not walk a batter.
The series finale will be at 7:05 PM Wednesday night. Pregame coverage starts at 6:45 on AM 1230 and FM 98.1 KWSN.
Courtesy: Sioux Falls Canaries Aaron Rosenberg