08/06/2017 7:57 PM
SIOUX FALLS -- The Texas AirHogs dropped their series finale vs. Sioux Falls Sunday, falling in a back-and-forth affair by a final of 11-7. The AirHogs erased a 6-2 deficit with 5 runs in the 7th and 8th before a final 5-run flurry put the home team in front for good.
Casio Grider took Canaries starter Joe Bircher for a solo home run, his 4th of the season, to put the AirHogs up 1-0 in the 1st. The lead would not hold though, as the Canaries tagged Texas starter Kevin Hilton for 5 runs over the 1st 3 innings before Austin Kubitza took over on the mound.
Kubitza spun 3.1 innings of 1-run ball to keep the AirHogs in it. Texas got a run in the 5th on doubles by Denis Phipps and Jake Taylor but the deficit stood at 4 entering the 7th. There, Grider got to James Jones for a 1-out single before Phipps hit his 3rd home run of the series (9th of the season) to make it 6-4. Mike Miller and Ryne Willard added RBIs later in the frame to tie the game at 6.
After Leuris Gomez twirled a scoreless 7th, Taylor, a former Canary, gave the AirHogs their 1st lead since the game’s opening stages with a base hit to left off Dylan Thompson that scored Grider.
Unfortunately, the 7-6 advantage would not hold. Jabari Henry took Josh Blanco for a 2-run home run in the bottom of the 8th before Dan Motl broke the contest open with a 3-run triple. The home run was the 18th of the season for Henry. The triple was the 7th of the season for the Association leader Motl.
The AirHogs boarded 2 but could not break through in the 9th vs. Sioux Falls closer Jose Ortega. Grider finished with 4 hits in the game and scored 3 times. Phipps finished with 3 hits, 2 runs and 3 RBIs. Taylor scored once and racked up 1 RBI on 2 hits. Texas finished with 14 hits in the game and finished the series with 10 or more hits in every contest.
Sioux Falls racked up 15 hits. The home team was led by Motl, who finished with 2 hits and 4 RBIs, Henry, who scored twice on 2 hits and accumulated 2 RBIs, and former AirHog Burt Reynolds, who had 5 hits, including a home run. The Canaries and AirHogs split the 4-game set.
The AirHogs (28-44) return home to begin a 10-game homestand tomorrow at 7:05 vs. the Salina Stockade (12-60). Jared Mortensen (4-1, 3.21 ERA) is expected to start for the AirHogs. The starter for Salina is TBD.
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