On Monday the Canaries opened a three game homes stand vs. the Lincoln Saltdogs. It was a classic pitchers duel with Ben Moore going nine strong innings. It was all for not as the game went into extra innings thanks to a passed ball in the top of the ninth that tied the game. The Canaries only run came on Steve Domecus homer I the seventh. The Saltdogs plated two in the top of tenth of off closer Alan DeRatt. That was all that was needed and Lincoln won the series opener 3-1.
The Tuesday night game pitted two pitchers making their first professional starts. Austin Brough was starting in place of Jordan Whatcott who left to be with his expecting wife. Brough’s last appearance saw him toss five innings of two hit, one run ball against Winninpeg in 12-1 loss. That was obviously mop-up duty but it was encouraging. Starting is different animal however and the Saltdogs scored two in the first, one in the second and six in the third off of Brough.
Lincoln eventually won 13-4. Nate Baumann was the Bird offense as he hit two homers late. Jake Taylor added an RBI and two hits. VanStratten was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
Lefty Adam Champion took the bump for an overcast noon game on Wednesday. He was solid as he held the Saltdogs to just one run through 6.2 innings while striking out four. Jake Taylor made his first start of the season behind the plate. He had two passed balls early but settled in nicely after that. He also contributed big with his bat. He cranked an opposite field homer in the eighth to solidify the win. He was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, two runs and stolen base. He also threw out a Lincoln base runner.
Lincoln starter Joe Bisenius was devastating as he routinely hit 93-94 MPH on he the gun. Nate Baumann and Nick VanStratten each struck out three times. Bisenius did not get much hustle out his defense. They officially only committed one error. However there was about three plays that ultimately helped the Canaries because of lack of miscommunication or sluggish jumps.
The birds avoided the sweep with 4-1 win. Alan DeRatt dispatched Lincoln in he ninth on 12 pitches and the defense turned a beautiful double play to end the game.
Canaries at Amarillo Sox
On Friday the Canaries started a big Texas road trip with
three games at Amarillo, three games at Laredo and four games at El Paso.
The Friday night game started out harsh as Amarillo plated two in the first and four in the second. The Canaries attempted to claw back with a run in fifth and another in sixth but the Sox equaled that feat and they plated another in the seventh. The Canaries squeaked one more run by in the eight and trailed 3-9 going into the ninth. John Alonso led off the inning with a single. Then after two Canary strikeouts Kevin Dultz smashed a double to centerfield scoring Alonso. Following an Anthony Trajano walk, VanStratten hit a ground ball to short that was misplayed and VanStratten reached while Dultz scored. After a Taylor single and pitching substitution, JP Ramirez pushed a single to center scoring two and the Birds trailed by just two with two runners on. Jared Clark then flew out to deep left to end the game. Sox 9, Canaries 7.
Saturday saw Canary starter Mitch Clegg toss his best start of the season. He went six innings allowing just two earned on four hits. He saw his ERA fall from 7.41 to 6.26 and he also throw just 77 pitches compared to the 97 that he threw in five innings in his last start.
As has been the running theme this season the opponent scored first. The Sox plated one in first and one in the fourth both runs were charged to Clegg. The Birds counter with three in fifth on a pair on RBI singles by Taylor and Ramirez and a sac flay by Clark. Ramirez added another RBI single in the seventh. The Sox then got to the bullpen in the eighth. Matt Daly walked the first two batters of the inning. Following an in-field single the Sox plated one on a double play. A RBI single off Van Leur and an RBI double off Kirk Clark gave the Sox the lead for good. Sox 5, Canaries 4.
VanStratten was brilliant again as he went 3-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored. His .339 average is eighth best in the League. Ramirez and Taylor each had two hits. Clark and Pahuta were a combined 0-for-7 with seven strikeouts, a walk and a sac fly.
The Sunday night affair saw the Birds finally score first thanks to a VanStratten lead off single. Cory Morales followed with a single that scored VanStratten. Then all was quiet until the Sox scored two in the fifth and two more in the sixth off starter Ben Moore. He tossed six innings giving up four earned on eight hits while striking out five. VanStratten was at it again as he led off the six with a double he later scored on a Ramirez single. After that the Sox battered the Birds ‘pen once again and sweep the series with a 9-3 win.
The Canaries will stay in Texas for seven games in seven days. They start by taking on the Laredo Lemurs (18-12) Monday-Wednesday and finish with El Paso Diablos (7-22) Thursday-Sunday. The Canaries are now 12-18 on the season.