Johnson Stymies Canaries, Railroaders Win 3-1
CLEBURNE, Tex. (Aug. 5, 2019) – Stephen Johnson set career highs with eight innings and nine strikeouts, pitching the Cleburne Railroaders to a 3-1 win over the Sioux Falls Canaries on Monday night at The Depot at Cleburne Station. With the victory, the Railroaders completed a three-game sweep of the Canaries and clinched the season series against Sioux Falls for the first time in franchise history.
Johnson (6-1) was masterful, allowing just two hits on the evening and one run. He retired the first nine hitters he faced, then retired 11 in a row from the fifth through the eighth.
Cleburne (44-29) gave Johnson the necessary run support with one tally apiece in the third, fourth, and eighth innings. The scoring started on a wild play in the third; with one out and a runner at first, Angel Reyes hit a hard grounder down to Kevin Taylor at third. Canaries second baseman Alay Lago couldn’t see Taylor’s throw to second in the sun, as the ball sailed by him into right field. Sioux Falls right fielder Clint Coulter retrieved the throw and fired wildly to third, allowing Daniel Robertson to scamper home with the game’s first run.
Sioux Falls (31-42) tied the game 1-1 in the fourth, recording their only two hits of the evening. Brett Vertigan led off the inning with a single into center, then Lago ripped a ground-rule double into left-center. Taylor tied the game with a sacrifice fly, but Johnson struck out the next two Birds to end the threat.
The ‘Roaders re-took the lead in the fourth, as Zach Nehrir led off with a double and raced home on a Hunter Clanin RBI single. Nehrir then provided a big insurance run in the bottom of the eighth with a solo home run down the left field line that produced the final margin.
Johnson came back out for the top of the ninth, but hit Graham Low to start the inning. Braden Pearson was summoned from the bullpen for a left-on-left matchup with Vertigan, and promptly induced a 4-6-3 double play. Tyler Wilson retired Lago on a bouncer to end the game and lock down his 18th save.
Alex Boshers (5-4) took the tough-luck loss for Sioux Falls, allowing just one earned run over six innings.
The Railroaders continue their homestand with a three-game series against the Kansas City T-Bones on Tuesday night at 7:06 PM. Right-hander Jesus Sanchez (7-2, 2.80) is expected to start for Cleburne, while the T-Bones will counter with fellow righty Tommy Collier (6-4, 4.00).
For information on partnerships, season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Railroaders main office at (817) 945-8705, or visit the Railroaders official website at www.railroaderbaseball.com.
By Denning Gerig
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