Jay Baum Leads 5-Run Eighth to Give Explorers, 5-2 Victory
A night after the Sioux City Explorers jumped out to a 9-0 lead on their way to an 11-3 victory, the team found itself trailing the St. Paul Saints 2-0 entering the eighth. The Saints pitching staff was in complete control, but a five-run eighth turned the tide and the Explorers went on to the 5-2 victory. Jay Baum had 3-RBI on Monday, and drove in three in the decisive inning as well. The loss moved the Saints into a tie with the Gary Southshore RailCats in the North Division.
The Saints would take the lead against Explorers starter Taylor Jordan in the bottom of the first. Anthony Phillips was hit by a pitch with one down and moved to second when Max Murphy singled into right field. Two batters later, Phillips came around to score on a two-out single off the bat of Noah Perio, Jr. to make it 1-0.
In the seventh, the lead became two. Richard Prigatano walked to leadoff the frame, but was erased on a double-play. It looked like Ryan Flores would keep this a one-run game, but a walk to JJ Gould kept the inning alive before Kes Carter drew a walk. Phillips then lined a single into left that brought Gould into score to make it 2-0.
Jeff Malm returned to the Saints and looked great, tossing a no-hitter through the first four-innings of the game. He came out after four and Beck Wheeler would keep the Explorers hitless through 5.2, finally seeing it come to an end with two outs in the sixth.
In the seventh, Mike Devine came on and loaded the bases on three singles with one out, but would get out of it when he struck out Dexture McCall before getting Dylan Kelly to ground out. He would not be so fortunate in the eighth.
David Kerian started the eighth with a single and moved to second on a passed ball. Two batters later, Michael Lang singled to put runners at the corners and Kerian scored on a sacrifice fly by Jay Austin to put Sioux City down by a run. Nate Samson followed with a single and that would be it for Devine.
Tom Wilhelmsen came on, but he was not the answer to stopping the rally. Jose Sermo walked to load the bases and Jay Baum followed by drilling a double to the wall in right-center that cleared the bases. That made it 4-2 Explorers. Baum scored on a single by McCall to extend the lead to three.
Flores (3-0) earned the victory despite giving up a run. Eric Karch tossed the final 1.2 innings to earn his fifth save of the season. Jay Baum finished 2-4 with a run and 3-RBI. Despite earning a no-decision, Jordan allowed one hit in 6-innings, striking out 6. JJ Gould was 2-3 with a run for the Saints.
The Explorers will look for the sweep on Wednesday. The Saints send RHP Matt Solter (1-2, 3.58) to the mound against Explorers RHP Justin Vernia (4-1, 3.69). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier