Four Run First Propels Explorers Past Saltdogs, 4-3
Sioux City, IA – For the first time in a couple of weeks, the Sioux City Explorers are back on the road, but that did not stop the momentum that they had gained during their home stand. The offense attacked early and the pitching held on as Sioux City earned their 11th straight victory, this time over the Lincoln Saltdogs at Haymarket Park.
The 11 game winning streak for the Explorers is now the longest in the American Association during the 2019 season. Sioux City has surpassed Fargo-Moorhead who had put together a ten game streak earlier this season.
The X’s began things early by being patient. The first three men to the dish in the game walked. And without a swing, or a hit the X’s had the bases loaded with no one out. Jose Sermo who has been a thorn in the Saltdogs side this season continued to be just that as he sent a screamer down the right field line for a two run double to give the X’s the lead. With runners at second and third with no one out Drew Stankiewicz drove a run home with a ground out and Dexture McCall swatted the innings second double to right field to bring home Sermo and put Sioux City up 4-0.
Lincoln though would chip away starting in the bottom of the first. A couple of walks to the first two batters put runners on for Lincoln but Carlos Sierra would strike out the next two up. It was a base hit to left that was bobbled by Sebastian Zawada that allowed Christian Ibarra to score from second after initially getting the stop sign at third to put the first run on the board for the Saltdogs making it 4-1.
From there both starting pitchers locked in. Sierra (6-0) making his second start of the season against Lincoln picked up the win for Sioux City going five and a third allowing three runs, just one earned on 6 hits while striking out five and walking two. Sierra at one point retired nine straight batters.
Jake Hohensee (2-5) took the loss after his offense could not comeback for him. He would go six innings, allowing four runs on on five hits, with four walks and two strike outs.
Lincoln would add a couple of runs In the sixth. Curt Smith doubled to lead off the inning. He advanced to third on a ground out. He would score on a ground ball by Randolph Oduber who was able to reach first on an error by Nate Samson making it 4-2. After a Tyler Moore single, Steve Montgomery elected to go to his bullpen and brought in Jose Velez. Velez would get a line drive for the first out but then walk a batter. Christina Ibarra then lined a base hit to left with the bases loaded and two out, to score a run with Lincoln holding the tying run at third. That lead to Velez getting out of the inning with a strikeout of Forrest Allday to end the threat, leaving the bases loaded and the X’s on top 4-3.
Nate Gercken would pitch a scoreless seventh and eighth, both times having the tying run get aboard but being able to get out of the jam. And Matt Pobereyko continued to be lights out for the Explorers notching his 19th save with a scoreless ninth including two punch outs.
The 11 straight wins are tied for the second longest winning streak in franchise history, with Sioux City accomplishing the same feat in 1997 and 1994.
Sioux City will go for their twelfth straight victory on Wednesday against the Saltdogs with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm. The X’s will give the ball to Eric Karch and right hander Ricky Knapp gets the start for Lincoln.
By Connor Ryan