KANSAS CITY, Kan. (CANARIES) — A first-inning grand slam from Clint Coulter would be all the Sioux Falls Canaries needed. The Birds (21-21) knocked off the Kansas City T-Bones (21-21) Tuesday at T-Bones stadium. The win brings the Birds back to .500 on the year.
Coulter’s blast capped off a five-run first inning that put the Birds ahead for good in the opening game of the teams’ three-game series.
The Birds got out in front quickly, loading the bases for Mike Hart with one out in the first. Hart knocked an RBI single that moved everyone up 90 feet, and Coulter’s second grand slam of the season made it 5-0.
Coulter’s blast was the fifth grand slam of the year for the Canaries; they didn’t hit any in 2018.
The T-Bones chipped away at the Sioux Falls lead against Birds starter Alex Boshers. Center fielder Danny Mars led off the first inning with a stand-up triple, and scored on a Dylan Tice sacrifice fly to make it 5-1.
In the third, Daniel Nava and Chris Collabello knocked back-to-back RBI singles off Boshers to make it 5-3.
Boshers left the game after four innings of work, allowing three runs on five hits. He walked three and struck out two.
Fortunately for Mike Meyer’s team, the Canaries’ bullpen was there to pick Boshers up. Four Canary relievers entered the game, none of whom allowed a run. Trevor Jaunich threw the fifth, Will Solomon threw the sixth and seventh, Ryan Froom threw the eighth and Sam Bragg earned his second save of the year in the ninth.
In all, Birds relievers threw five innings, allowing just two combined hits.
A seventh-inning sacrifice fly from Kevin Taylor scored Brett Vertigan to give the Birds an insurance run in the seventh, bringing the game to its final score.
The Birds and T-Bones meet again Wednesday night for the second game of their series. Keaton Steele will pitch for the Canaries; Kenny Koplove will get the ball for Kansas City. Birds fans can tune in to the game on Sioux Falls Sports Radio 98.1 FM and AM 1230 KWSN and kwsn.com.