The Sioux Falls Pheasants could not produce enough offense on Saturday night, and they lost their bid to grab a share of first place in a 3-1 defeat by the Winnipeg Goldeyes.
The Pheasants (25-22) dropped the opener of a four-game series and have suffered three straight losses in the midst of a 12-game road trip.
Playing short-handed without the bats of Cory Morales and Mark Shorey due to injuries, Sioux Falls cracked 10 hits but struggled to sustain any rallies. Their best opportunity came in the first inning when they loaded the bases with one out, but Goldeyes starter Todd Privett (2-3) squelched the threat by striking out Cristian Guerrero and Trevor Lawhorn. The Pheasants stranded 11 runners.
Privett limited the Pheasants to just three base runners over the next three innings. He finally exited after the Pheasants scored their only run of the game in the seventh on Jonny Kaplan’s RBI single.
Winnipeg (27-20) struck first in the second inning off Mitchell Clegg (3-3) when Kyle Day drove home Josh Mazzola on a sun-aided triple to center field that eluded the vision of Jonny Kaplan. David Narodowski followed with a run-scoring single for a 2-0 lead.
Clegg was otherwise effective despite taking the loss, giving up just one more run in the sixth on a wild pitch. Clegg gave up three runs and eight hits in six innings, walking two and striking out four.
Kaplan and Joe Anthonsen hit back-to-back, two-out singles in the ninth to bring a potential go-ahead run to the plate, but Winnipeg closer Dexter Carter induced Jared Bolden into a harmless groundout for his sixth save.
Kaplan led the Pheasants offense with a 3-for-4 performance and an RBI, while Dan Cooper chipped in two scoreless innings of relief pitching.
Game two of the four-game series is at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 8, in Winnipeg.
Courtesy: Scott Beatty, Pheasants