Fargo, ND- After a tough 1-5 homestand, the Sioux Falls Canaries were hoping a change of scenery would turn their luck around, but things went from bad to worse as the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks opened up the three-game series at Newman Outdoor Field with a 12-3 victory over the Birds.
Starting pitcher Ben Moore (4-5) entered the night in-search of his 54th win in a Sioux Falls uniform, but for the 5th straight outing, the Canaries ace came up empty. Moore took the loss after allowing 9 runs on 11 hits over 6 innings against Fargo, who entered the night with the American Association's worst batting average, hitting just .256 as a team in 2014.
The Canaries offense took a 17 inning scoreless drought into the top of the second inning in Fargo before breaking through with two runs. After a Carlos Mendez walk, and a Chris Valencia single into right, Canaries shortstop Stephen Branca opened up the scoring with an RBI single into center field, plating home Mendez from third. Moments later, Valencia and Branca executed the double steal, with Valencia swiping home plate to tie the game at 2-2.
The RedHawks took the lead back for good in the bottom of the 4th inning after Moore gave up back-to-back singles to start the inning before Brandon Tripp blasted a three-run HR to center field, giving Fargo a 5-2 lead.
After going just 1-for-9 in the three-game series against Laredo, Canaries first baseman AJ Kirby-Jones had a good night at the plate on Friday, going 3-for-4 with an RBI double and a pair of singles.
Fargo starting pitcher Brian Ernst (5-4) tossed 8 strong innings for the RedHawks, striking out five batters and allowing just 3 earned runs on 6 hits.
The Canaries continue their seven-game roadtrip on Saturday night with Matt Wickswat (2-4, 5.61 ERA) taking the mound with first pitch schedule for 6:00 PM at Newman Outdoor Field in Fargo, ND. Fans can listen to all of the action live on AM 1230 and FM 98.1 KWSN. The Birds' return to Sioux Falls Stadium on July 25th, when they open up a three-game series against the Sioux City Explorers. There will be Friday night fireworks presented by Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital, Orthopedic Institute and All-Star Fireworks. The Canaries will also be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Courtesy: Sioux Falls Canaries J.J. Hartigan