In American Association Daily, Robert Pannier recaps the exciting games around the American Association from Thursday, including the Sioux City Explorers sweeping the Sioux Falls Canaries, and the Lincoln Saltdogs winning their second game of the series over the Wichita Wingnuts in walk-off fashion.
Sioux City Explorers Move to 6-1
If there is one thing we have learned a week into the American Association season, it is that the Sioux City Explorers know how to crush an opponent’s hopes of even believing they are in a contest. That was the case Thursday night, as the Explorers scored five runs in the top of the first inning on their way to a 10-4 victory over the Sioux Falls Canaries. Jay Baum drove in 3 and added 3 hits and Nate Samson plated 2 in the 15-hit attack.
A single by Luis Durango and Michael Lang being hit by a pitch by Canaries starter Joe Bircher started off the contest. Jay Austin looked to move both runners into scoring position by laying down an excellent bunt, but he would reach on an error by the third baseman, bringing Nate Samson to the plate with the bases loaded. Samson lined a base hit into left-center, scoring two runs and Jay Baum followed with a single that scored Austin and it was 3-0 just five batters into the contest. Daniel Jackson reached on a fielder’s choice, replacing Samson. Dexture McCall followed with a single that scored Baum and Jackson scored on a single by David Kerian to make it 5-0.
The Canaries got two of those runs back in the bottom half of the inning. Patrick Fiala singled with one down and, two batters later, Chris Grayson clubbed his third homer of the year. The two-out blast made it 5-2.
In the fourth, Sioux Falls would cut into the Explorers lead. Jabari Henry led off the inning with a double and scored on a two out single by Blake Schmit. That made it a two-run game.
The Explorers restored their three run advantage right away. In the top of the fifth, Samson walked with one down and moved to second on a single by Baum. Two batters later, McCall delivered a two-out single that scored Samson to make it 6-3.
Once again, the Canaries would make this a two-run game, getting a single run in the bottom of the sixth. With two down, Grayson drew a walk, then stole second before Chris Jacobs walked. Schmit followed with his second two-out hit of the game, driving home Grayson to make it 6-4.
It stayed a close contest until the top of the ninth, when the Sioux City Explorers would put the icing on the cake, scoring four to put this game away. Durango started the frame with a single, moving to second on a wild pitch and reached third on a ground out. Austin walked before Samson was intentionally walked to load the bases. With Baum at the plate, James Jones uncorked a wild pitch that scored Durango, and Austin and Samson came home on a Baum double, amazingly the only extra base hit the Explorers would produce in the 15-hit attack. Baum scored on a single by Jackson to make it 10-4, which would be the final.
Taylor Jordan (2-0) earned the victory, and the Sioux City bullpen tossed 3.1 innings of no-hit, one-walk relief. Ryan Flores pitched the final 1.1-innings, striking out 3.
Jay Baum led the Sioux City Explorers offense, going 3-5 with 2-runs and 3-RBI. Nate Samson was 2-3 with 2-runs and 2-RBI and Dexture McCall was 3-5 with 2-RBI. Four different players in the Explorers lineup scored 2-runs. Blake Schmit was 3-4 with 2-RBI for the Canaries.
Johnny Davis Drives in 2 as T-Bones Even Record with 5-3 Victory
For the second straight night, the Kansas City T-Bones downed the Gary Southshore RailCats 5-3. That evened the teams record at 3-3. Johnny Davis, appearing in his first game for the T-Bones, had the big hit, driving in two with a triple in a four run fourth inning, and Cody Winiarski saved his third game of the season. The RailCats took the lead in the top of the first when Randy Santiesteban hit his first home run of the season. In the third, Gary Southshore would extend their lead to three on an error by Kansas City starter Hunter Adkins and an RBI single by the red hot Garrett Copeland. In the bottom of the fourth, the T-Bones made this a one-run game before Davis drilled a ball into the gap that drove home both Tucker Pennell and Angel Rosa to make it 4-3. Keith Curcio would add his first home run of the season in the 5-3 victory. The Kansas City bullpen tossed 4-innings, allowing just a lone hit while striking out 4.
Lincoln Wins in Walk-Off Fashion Again
The Lincoln Saltdogs won their fourth straight game on Thursday night, sweeping the Wichita Wingnuts with a 6-5 victory. It was the second game in this series where the Saltdogs won in walk-off fashion following Tuesday night’s dramatic winner on a three-run homer by Angel Reyes. The Wingnuts jumped out a 5-2 lead, thanks to a 2-run single in the second by Leo Vargas and four walks in the eighth which led to two runs. However, in the bottom of the eighth, Reyes, who had homered an inning earlier, hit a two-run double to make this a one-run game, and Brant Whiting brought home the final run with a sacrifice fly. That sent the game to the ninth, where Lincoln would load the bases before Wingnuts closer Daniel Tillman uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Christian Ibarra to score with the winning run. The Saltdogs bullpen was brilliant, allowing 2-run and no-hits in 4.2 innings and Reyes was 3-4 with 2-runs and 4-RBI
American Association Daily Notes
The Sioux Falls Canaries acquired C/OF Michael Hart from the Lincoln Saltdogs for a player to be named later. Hart had not appeared for the Saltdogs this season before the trade…The Sioux City Explorers signed IF Ty Moore. Moore was a Pittsburgh Pirates prospect since 2015. He split time between Mid-A West Virginia and High-A Bradenton last season, where he combined to h it .277 with 7 homers and 58 RBI in 113 games.
By Robert Pannier
Member of the IBWAA