Five-Run Ninth Sends Explorers to 8-3 Victory over Milkmen
Franklin, WI — The Sioux City Explorers used a five run ninth inning and a big offensive day from Jared Walker to take the opening game of a three game series from the Milwaukee Milkmen on Memorial Day, 8-3.
The X’s jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after Jared Walker smashed a home run over the right field fence. Walker now leads the American Association with six home runs.
Sioux City added to their lead in the top of the second as Joseph Monge went the other way to right-center field for his first home run of the season making it 3-0 X’s.
The two home runs hit by Sioux City were their 14th and 15th of the season, giving them a share of the league lead in dingers 12 games into the season.
Patrick Ledet, making his third start, was dominant early on. He ended up receiving a no decision going six innings allowing three runs all earned on five hits. He struck out a season high 10 batters while not allowing a walk.
On the other side, after allowing the two home runs Matt Solter settled down to take care of the X’s bats. He also took a no decision as he went seven innings allowing three runs all earned on six hits with seven punch outs and one walk.
Milwaukee got on the board in the fourth as David Washington launched his fourth home run of the year deep down the right field line, keeping it fair. In the fifth Christian Correa after a long battle with Ledet led off the inning with a solo home run over the left field wall cutting the Sioux City lead to 3-2.
The Milkmen tied the game by scoring a run in a third consecutive inning as Logan Trowbridge singled with one out in the sixth. He stole second to get into scoring position. David Washington then blooped a double down the left field line with the X’s defense playing the hard swinging lefty to pull. The soft hit tied the game at three.
In the seventh and eighth Sioux City squandered a couple of chances to score but finally came through in the ninth. Sebastian Zawada, after a questionable foul ball blooper down the right field line, lined a no-doubter off the left field fence for a single to lead off the frame. After a walk and a base hit the bases were loaded with no one out. Milwaukee pulled the infield in and a ground ball to short produced an out and kept the score tied. LT Tolbert then softly lined a ball back into centerfield to score the go ahead run. After a pop out to left, the X’s then went on a run of three straight run scoring hits. Lane Milligan scorched one at the Milkmen shortstop that could not be handled for a single. Jared Walker after a long battle at the plate singled to right for his third hit and third and fourth RBI of the game to extend his league lead to 18. A Jose Sermo single put the finishing touches on the five run rally making it 8-3 Sioux City.
All the runs came against Milwaukee reliever Karch Kowalczyck (0-1) who was handed the loss as he surrendered five runs, all earned on five hits while walking one and not collecting a strikeout in two thirds of an inning.
On the other end, Sioux City’s bullpen was once again stellar. All three arms that came into the game produced perfect innings. Nate Gercken struck out the side in the seventh. Max Kuhns (2-0) ended up earning the win in a perfect eighth inning. And Matt Pobereyko tossed a perfect ninth despite the non-save situation.
Sioux City improved to 8-4 on the young season and was able to gain a half game on everyone in the South Division standings as the rest of the division was idle this Memorial Day. The series continues on Tuesday as the X’s and Milwaukee meet again with first pitch set for 6:30. The Milkmen send righty Myles Smith (1-0, 1.80) to the bump, the Explorers have yet to announce their starter.
By Connor Ryan, Sioux City Explorers