In American Association Daily, Robert Pannier recaps an incredible night of baseball in the American Association, as only six teams were in action. The Sioux City Explorers and Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks split a double-header, as two starters dominated in the contests.
Jordan, Gregory Help Explorers, RedHawks to Double-Header Split
The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks earned a split of their double-header with the Sioux City Explorers on Thursday, but probably came away feeling like they should have swept the twin bill. The Explorers rallied for two runs in the eighth to win the first game, 2-1, before seeing their rally fall short in the second game, as the RedHawks won, 4-3.
Game 1 was a great pitcher’s duel between Taylor Jordan and Sebastian Kessay. Neither team was able to generate any offense through regulation. Jordan had a perfect game going through the first six innings, finally seeing that come to an end in the top of the seventh when Brennan Metzger led off the frame with a double. Kessay allowed 3-hits through the first 7-innings of the game.
With neither team able to score, the game went to extra innings. In the top of the eighth, Tommy Mendonca led off with a single, just the second hit against Jordan. A sacrifice moved him to second. With two down, Steve Zimmerman drilled a double that scored the runner to give Fargo-Moorhead the lead, 1-0.
The RedHawks turned to closer Randy McCurry, who was looking for his ninth save of the season. He retired the first batter of the inning, but Dylan Kelly singled before Luis Durango flew out. With two down and one on, Michael Lang singled keeping the inning alive. Nate Samson followed with a base hit into right field. Ryan Flores had come on to run for Kelly and looked to score. The throw was over the catcher’s head, allowing Flores to score. That also allowed Lang to come all the way around with the winning run, as the Sioux City Explorers earned the walk-0ff victory, 2-1.
Taylor Jordan (5-1) earned his American Association leading fifth win of the season. He allowed 3-hits and a run in the complete game victory, striking out 4. It was a great performance after he suffered his first loss of the season.
The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks did not let the loss faze them at all, defeating the Explorers in the nightcap, 4-3. The RedHawks scored four runs, then held on to down Sioux City as McCurry was able to close out the game for save number nine.
Brennan Metzger walked to start the game and he moved to third when Maikol Gonzalez reached on an error. He scored when Devan Ahart grounded out to put the RedHawks on top, 1-0.
In the second, the lead became two. Once again, a walk got the rally started, as Tim Colwell led off with the free pass. Keith Picht retired the next two batters, but Derrick Fox kept the frame going with a single, before Metzger singled to drive home Colwell to extend the lead two.
The inning starting free pass would come back to haunt the Explorers in the third as well. Ahart got the inning started with a walk. He then stole second and third and scored on a two out single by Colwell. That made it 3-0.
In the fifth, Fargo-Moorhead added another insurance run and that proved to be crucial. Leobaldo Pina doubled with one out and scored when an error allowed Yhoxian Medina to reach.
Reese Gregory gave up a hit in the first, then would retire 14 in a row. That string came to an end when Daniel Jackson doubled with one out in the sixth. Luis Durango singled to score Jackson and he moved to third on an error. A base hit by Lang plated Durango and suddenly this was a two-run game.
In the seventh, McCurry looked to preserve the victory, but Jose Sermo greeted him with his third home run of the season. Dexture McCall followed with a single and Jackson walked two batters later. With runners at first and second and one down, a fly out turned into a double-play when Ahart made a great catch and doubled up McCall to end the contest.
Reese Gregory (1-1) earned his first victory of the season, going 5.1-innings, allowing 4-hits and 2-runs. He struck out 1.
Winnipeg Crushes Saints, 16-5
On the night that Josh Romanski returned from Mexico, the Winnipeg Goldeyes pounded out 18-hits in a 16-5 victory. An eight run second put the Goldeyes in command as seven different players drove in runs. Leading 11-5 in the ninth, Winnipeg would put the game away with five in the final frame, three coming off the bat of Josh Mazzola on his sixth homer of the year. Romanski homered in his first at-bat. Dave Sappelt also hit his first home run of the season, one of his 4-hits on the night. The victory moved the Goldeyes two games behind the St. Paul Saints in the North Division.
Casey Harman Sends Wingnuts to Sixth Straight Win, 3-2
The Wichita Wingnuts moved their win streak to six, downing the Sioux Falls Canaries 3-2 to sweep the three-game set. Left-hander Casey Harman (4-1) allowed a first inning run, then kept the Canaries off the scoreboard for the next five frames. He retired the final 11 batters he faced. Sioux Falls looked like they would rally in the ninth when they put runners at second and third with one down against Wingnuts closer Daniel Tillman, but Tillman struck out Jabari Henry before getting a fly out to end the game for his ninth save of the season.
By Robert Pannier