Sioux Falls, SD-- The Sioux Falls Canaries opened a seven-game homestand in memorable fashion Friday night thanks to a walk-off solo homerun by Sam Lind that clinched the 7-6 victory over the Sioux Explorers in front of 4,215 fans. Lind’s shot in the bottom of the ninth gave the Canaries (23-44) their first win in five games and puts the team on the right foot after going 1-6 during their recent road trip.
“It was a great win and a really competitive game tonight,” said Lind, a native of Hartford, S.D. “It was a lot of fun.”
Sioux City took no time pouncing on Canary starter Kyle Ruwe (5-5) as they jumped on the righty for a quick two runs in the opening inning. The Explorers added two more tallies the next two innings to give Sioux City starter Lars Liguori a healthy 4-0 lead heading to the bottom of the fourth inning. Sioux Falls snapped Liguori’s no-hitter in the fourth thanks to a single by designated hitter Brandon Jones, who scored two at bats later on a single up the middle from Chris Duffy. The 4-1 Explorer lead was chopped to 4-2 the next inning after a fielder’s choice off the bat of Lind.
“This is a tough league,” said Lind. “There are a lot of really good players here. I’m just grinding and trying to establish myself in this league.”
Sioux Falls was just getting started, however, as they used a four-run sixth inning to power to a 6-4 lead over the Explorers. Another RBI from Duffy on a single started the rally, bringing the Birds within 4-3. Third baseman Carlos Mendez put the Canaries on top the very next at bat with a double that drive in A.J. Kirby-Jones and Duffy, making it 5-4 Sioux Falls. Chris Valencia put the cherry on top of the successful inning with an RBI up the middle that gave the Canaries a 6-4 lead.
The Canaries’ lead lasted until the top of the eighth, when an RBI Explorer single followed by a sneaky squeeze knotted things up 6-6. Nonetheless, Lind and the rest of the Canaries entered the bottom of the ninth undiscouraged by the comeback, with Lind’s 2-0 blast to left field sealing the victory in front of one of the largest Canary crowds of the season.
Both teams will return to the Birdcage tomorrow night at 7:05 pm for the second game of their three-game series. The first 500 kids will receive a Canaries lunch box, and the Canaries will continue the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Baseball Hall of Fame.