The Sioux Falls Pheasants finished a four-game sweep of the Gary SouthShore RailCats with a 5-0 win on Monday night at Sioux Falls Stadium.
Sioux Falls (24-18) won its fifth straight and swept a four-game series for the first time since 2010. The Pheasants moved to two games behind first-place Winnipeg in the North Division.
The Pheasants struck for three runs in the first four innings to provide healthy run support for Pheasants starter Mitchell Clegg (3-2). Jonny Kaplan scored on Cesar Nicolas' groundout in the first inning and again plated in the third inning on Jared Bolden's RBI single. Al Quintana made it 3-0 in the fourth inning with a single that drove in Mark Shorey from second base.
Clegg won for the second time in as many starts against the RailCats (16-27). He has shut them out across 13 innings. He allowed just three hits on Monday for his fifth quality start of the season. He also struck out three and walked five in the win.
"It was about pounding the ball in the zone. These guys are going to make all of the plays," said Clegg. "Fortunately, I was able to make enough pitches to roll up double plays and utilize the infield and the defense we have."
The RailCats threatened to score in the sixth inning. Two walks and a single loaded the bases with only one out, but Clegg escaped the jam unscathed.
"Just give yourself a chance," Pheasants pitching coach Mike Meyer said he told Clegg on a mound visit. "Go out there, be aggressive, drive it in the zone and make your pitch."
Clegg induced a flyout and a ground out to end the inning.
Nicolas extended the lead to 4-0 in the seventh inning with timely two-out hitting. After Bolden singled and stole second, Nicolas slapped an RBI single to left to plate Bolden.
Cory Morales put the final run on the board in the eighth inning when the second baseman and centerfielder collided in front of a looping fly ball, bring home Quintana.
Stephen Hiscock (1-4) took the loss in the start for the RailCats. He hurled six innings, giving up three runs on six hits, walking two and striking out two batters.
"If our pitchers can throw strikes and keep the ball down, we have a really good chance of being in the game," Meyer said. "With our offense, if [the pitching staff] gives them a chance, they'll come through."