Tony Campana Completes Explorers 5-4 Win with 2-Run Walk-Off Single
The Sioux City Explorers have suffered through one of the most challenging periods in the American Association due to the numerous injuries they have suffered. This has led to the team falling 11 games back in the Central Division, a run that would have been a real discouragement to most teams. However, not for these Explorers, as they battled back against the Wichita Wingnuts by scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth to win 5-4. Tony Campana delivered the big hit with a two-run, walk-off single that earned his team just their fourth victory in their last 10 games.
This contest was a great battle between Wingnuts starter Eddie Medina and Kramer Sneed, who started for Sioux City. The two pitchers kept this a scoreless affair through the first three innings, with each team finally getting on the board with a run in the fourth.
In the top of the fourth, Brent Clevlen started the inning with a walk and moved to second on a base hit by Matt Chavez. With two down, Richard Prigatano singled to load the bases and Clevlen scored when Brennen Salgado drew a four-pitch walk. That made it 1-0 Wichita.
The Explorers responded right away in the bottom half of the inning. Medina retired the first batter of the frame, but Michael Lang fell behind 0-2 before hitting his fourth home run of the season to tie the score at one.
It would stay that way until the sixth, when the Sioux City Explorers would take the lead. Lang got the frame started with a base hit and scored when Tanner Vavra delivered a triple to the wall in center bringing Lang all the way around from first.
Sneed left after seven, pitching an absolute beauty, but his bullpen was not able to hold the lead for him. In the top of the eighth, Ryan Flores took over and gave up a base hit to Christian Stringer to start the inning. Clevlen was then hit by a pitch and Stringer came home when Chavez grounded out two batters later. A wild pitch brought home Clevlen to give the Wingnuts their first lead of the game.
In the ninth, they extended their lead to two. Prigatano started the inning with a base hit, then stole second. Prigatano moved to third on his second straight steal and scored on a ground out by Leo Vargas.
In the bottom of the ninth, Wichita turned to closer Seth Harvey and it looked like this game was over, but there was no quit in this Sioux City. With one down, Eudor Garcia doubled and he scored when Lang followed with a double of his own. After Dre Gleason walked, Vavra singled to load the bases with one out. That brought Tony Campana to the plate, who lined a base hit up the middle, scoring both Lang and Gonzalez to give the Explorers the dramatic 5-4 walk-off victory.
Michael Lang had a huge night at the plate, going 4-5 with 3-runs and 2-RBI. Eudor Garcia was 2-5 with a run. The Wingnuts were led by Christian Stringer, who was 3-4 with a run scored. Richard Prigatano was also 3-4 with a run scored.
Game 2 of this four-game series is set for tomorrow. Right-hander Jordan Cooper (5-1, 3.56) will be on the mound for Wichita. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier