Explorers Comeback Falls Short
By Connor Ryan, Sioux City Explorers
Sioux City, IA (September, 3rd, 2022) – The Sioux City Explorers had the run that could have sent them to the postseason on base in the bottom of the ninth but were unable to complete the comeback as the Lincoln Saltdogs kept their postseason hopes alive with a 5-4 win.
Both teams traded a pair of runs in the first inning. Lincoln scored twice from a Luke Roskam sacrifice fly to right and a Josh Altmann single to take a 2-0 lead.
Sioux City tied the game quickly in the bottom of the first. Danny Amaral and Danry Vasquez hit back to back doubles within the first three pitches of the frame to cut the deficit in half. Trey Martin tied it 2-2, with a sac fly to center.
The Saltdogs took the lead for good in the third. Roskam, who reached on a single, scored from first base when Altmann doubled down the left field line. An error by the X’s left fielder aided in Roskam scoring from first to hand Lincoln a 3-2 lead.
The Altmann double was the final baserunner that Explorers starter Kevin McCanna (10-6) allowed. He retired the final eleven batters he faced, and retired the last five of that stretch all via strikeout. He took a tough loss however as he tossed six innings and allowed three runs, two earned on six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts on a season high 120 pitches.
For Lincoln, the Saltdogs pulled their starter Zach Keenan after only one inning and filled the final eight innings with a combination of six arms out of the bullpen. Jonathan Cheshire (2-2) earned the win by tossing two shutout innings with two hits and no walks with three strikeouts.
The Saltdogs added a pair of runs in the seventh. Ryan Long drove in Justin Byrd with a base hit to right field. The Explorers in an attempt to throw Long out advancing to second on the throw committed an error allowing Rayder Ascanio to score a second run on the play and giving Lincoln a 5-2 lead.
In the eighth, Sioux City pulled a run closer when Chase Harris led off with a bunt single and advanced to third on a single and a ground out, scored from a pass ball to make it 5-3.
In the bottom of the ninth the Explorers got the tying run to first after a hit batter and a walk. Sioux City pulled to within a run on a base hit from Miguel Sierra. But with the tying run at second, the Saltdogs turned a game-ending double play to keep their season alive.
Carson Lance (3) picked up the save by getting the final three outs for Lincoln.
The scenario for both teams to reach the postseason still remains the same. Lincoln must win the final two games, Sioux City needs to only win one.
Game three of the series will take place on Sunday afternoon at 4:05 pm. Right-hander Nivaldo Rodriguez (3-0, 1.56) will start for Sioux City and righty Garrett Delano (7-3, 4.55) is on the bump for Lincoln.