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Birds Blank Railcats Behind Clegg, Guerrero

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Gary, Ind. – Mitchell Clegg delivered seven shutout innings, and the bullpen did the rest in the Sioux Falls Pheasants 5-0 win over the Gary SouthShore RailCats on Tuesday afternoon at U.S. Steel Yard. Pheasants pitching combined to allow just four hits.

Clegg (1-0) earned his first victory by scattering three hits in his third start of the season. The southpaw did not allow a hit until Rico Washington’s double in the fourth inning. Along with four strikeouts, Clegg induced 10 ground ball outs to a solid Pheasants’ defense.

“As a pitcher I’m not going to strike out a lot of guys, so I need to take advantage of the defense we have,” Clegg said. “I have to tip my cap to the guys behind me and not take all the credit.”

The Pheasants scored all they needed with Jared Bolden’s RBI single to plate Jonny Kaplan in the top of the first. Kaplan led off the game with a double to left field. Both Bolden and Kaplan extended season-opening hitting streaks to 11 games.

An error on Cesar Nicolas’ fielder’s choice allowed Bolden to reach third, and Cristian Guerrero followed with a scorching home run inside the left field foul pole, his second this year, to expand a 4-0 lead.

Guerrero doubled in the third, and Trevor Lawhorn knocked him home on a single for a 5-0 advantage. Guerrero finished 2-for-4 with two runs, a home run and three RBI.

Sioux Falls relievers Dan Cooper, Jack Van Leur and Kyle Mertins combined to allow just one hit in the final two innings of relief. Mertins ran an earned-run scoreless streak to 9 2/3 innings in seven appearances.

RailCats starter Andrew Johnston (0-2) suffered the loss, allowing five runs, four earned, in 6 2/3 innings.

The rubber game of the three-game series is at 11:10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 30, in Gary. The game will be broadcast on Sioux Falls Sports Radio 1230-AM KWSN and www.kwsn.com.

Notes: Mark Shorey made two impressive diving catches in left field...The Pheasants are 3-0 in day games this season...Clegg is the second starter to earn a victory this year...The RailCats have not homered at home this season, but the Pheasants have homered twice in this series.
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