The Sioux Falls Pheasants (23-30) went into Saturday afternoons contest looking to stop a two game losing streak against the Sioux City Explorers (26-27). They were down 9-5 on Thursday night and put together a 9th inning rally to nearly come back, but eventually fell 9-7. On Friday, Sioux Falls took the early 1-0 lead in the 4th off of Brandon Sing’s league leading 18th home run of the season, but eventually fell 5-1.
Adam Cowart (4-2, 3.81 ERA) took the mound for the Pheasants opposite Kyle Wright (3-5, 3.81 ERA). Cowart is a rare pitcher who works exclusively from the stretch and has a slight side-arm delivery. The Pheasants got off to a good early start when Cowart was able to get leadoff man Dustin Jones to fly out to right to start the game, but then an error by Joe Anthonsen allowed the Explorers to get into scoring position and eventually allowed the first run of the game to score.
Sioux City added another run in the top of the 2nd off of a Dustin Jones double which scored Derek Schermerhorn. The Pheasants were able to get a run back when Hunter Jobes was able to score Mark Shorey off of a single. Sioux City then answered back in the top of the 3rd off of a three run shot by TJ Bohn.
Sioux Falls came back in the bottom of the 3rd with some fireworks of their own. Kevin Carby took first off of an error by the first baseman, Kent Sakamoto. Then Francisco Leandro made the Explorers pay for the error by blasting a shot to right center, bringing the Pheasants to within 2 5-4.
Brandon Sing then came up and blasted a shot deep over the left field wall for back to back home runs by the Pheasants. This was Sing’s 19th home run of the season, extending his league lead.
Manager Steve Shirley pulled Cowart in the 4th inning and went with Chris Salberg (1-7, 6.47 ERA) to try and stop the Explorer’s offense. Sioux City put two more runs on the board in the top of the 4th to extend their lead 7-4. Mark Shorey was thrown out of the game after arguing whether or not a ball was fair or foul when the play was called dead and ruled a ground rule double.
Sioux City scored again in the top of the 5th off of a Brian Bistagne single to score Ryan Priddy. History was made for Salberg in the bottom of the 5th inning though when he made his first ever plate appearance. He struck out on three straight pitches to end the inning for the Pheasants.
Salberg then came out in the top of the 6th and got out of the inning 1-2-3, the first time all game that had happened.
Reggie Abercrombie blasted a shot to left field for a two-run home run, his 6th of the season. This brought Sioux Falls back to within 2, 8-6. Sioux Falls’ offense began to come at opportune times in the later innings as they started to scratch their way back into the game.
Shirley then went to his pen again, bringing in Ryan Fleckenstein (2-0, 3.18 ERA) to try and keep the Xs bats at bay. Fleckenstein found himself in a jam early in the inning, loading the bases. Dustin Jones rips a single and scores 2 more to give Sioux City a 10-6 lead. At this point, Sioux City had pounded out 17 hits to the Pheasants’ 8. Errors also plagued Sioux Falls as they had committed 4 through 7 ½ innings, including 2 on short stop Joe Anthonsen.
Ryan Grant (0-1, 3.96 ERA) came into the game in the top of the 8th for Sioux Falls. He gave up a deep fly ball to center field which Abercrombie was unable to catch up with to Schermerhorn which scored Bohn to make it 11-6. Schemerhorn then scored off of an infield single to Priddy. Dustin Jones then hit a deep fly ball that bounced off the right field wall and scored two more runs, making it 14-6 Sioux City. This was a late two out rally in the top of the 8th for the Explorers.
Aaron Cotter (0-1, 5.09 ERA) came into the game to finish it out for the Pheasants. Out of all the pitchers which Sioux Falls had on the mound, he had the most productive outing striking out the side. It was too little too late though for Sioux Falls as they could not come back with another 9th inning rally. Sioux Falls drops to 23-31 while Sioux City improves to .500 at 27-27.
The Pheasants return to action Monday night against the Fargo-Moorehead Redhawks. First pitch is set for 7:05 PM and the game will be televised live by Midco Sports Net both Monday and Tuesday nights. Scott Beatty will also have the call on Sioux Falls Sports Radio AM 1230 KWSN beginning at 6:45 PM.