Cougars Down Explorers in 12th
By Austin Thomas, Sioux City Explorers
SIOUX CITY, IA –The Sioux City Explorers (11-10) came 90 feet from victory multiple times Saturday night, but lost 7-5 in 12 innings to the Kane County Cougars (10-11). The X’s had a seven inning start from Francys Peguero, but the five runs allowed didn’t bode well for the Explorers, who have now played in seven extra-inning games this season. The Cougars are now only half a game back of the Railroaders for fourth place in a tight East Division after back-to-back wins at Mercy One Field at Lewis and Clark Park.
After just one pitch, the X’s found themselves down on the scoreboard with Josh Allen smoking a leadoff homer off Peguero. The righty quickly rebounded, sitting down the next three batters to get out of the inning. The X’s stepped up to the plate with a good night of rest after making the trip up from Cleburne the night before that, but it seemed the bats stayed asleep for the first few innings, with Tyler Beardsley carrying a perfect game into the fourth inning. In the second, the Cougars threatened to score with runners on the corners but stayed silent in the third against Peguero.
The Cougars bats continued to falter in the fourth but the X’s didn’t, finally getting on the board with an RBI fielder’s choice from Daniel Perez to tie it 1-1. The Cougars came right back in the fifth inning to take the lead once again. Allen hit an RBI single to retake the lead 2-1. Kane County added an unearned run on an error by Perez on a ground ball at first base to take a 3-1 lead. Beardsley picked it back up for the Cougars, not allowing a runner past second base until the eighth inning. Kane County didn’t look strong in the sixth, but got back on track in the seventh. Peguero would hit Armond Upshaw then surrender a two-run home run to TJ Bennett to make it 5-1.
Heitor Tokar relieved Peguero to start the eighth and had a scoreless inning for Sioux City. With the X’s down four runs, they put together a big rally in the bottom of the eighth. Kyle Kasser led off with a walk and Beardsley was pulled after retiring Matt Lloyd. Spencer Van Scoyoc came into the game and Vince Fernandez hit a one-out single before Perez loaded the bases with a walk. Keith Rogalla relieved Van Scoyoc, and with a wild pitch and a throwing error on Wasinger, sent home two runners before Jake Sanford blasted a game-tying two-run shot into right field. The X’s didn’t score the rest of the inning, although Jake Ortega, Jack Kelly and Miguel Sierra all pulled walks.
Sean Rackoski relieved Tokar and Logan Nissen relieved Rogalla in the ninth, with both pitchers allowing a hit but getting the other three batters out to send it to extras. Rackoski pitched a perfect inning to keep it tied, but Nissen followed suit as the game went to the eleventh. Carlos Diaz started the inning for the X’s and worked a perfect frame to keep it at 5-5. The X’s loaded the bases in the bottom half of the inning off CJ Carter with one out, but once again were held scoreless by the Cougars. In the top of the 12th, Upshaw delivered the go-ahead RBI single to break the five-all tie. T.J. Bennett would add a double to make it 7-5 off Diaz. The X’s couldn’t fight back this time, going down one-two-three against Carter and falling one game back of the second-place Monarchs in the West Division.
The X’s face the Kane County Cougars in the final game of the three game series Sunday afternoon at 4:05 p.m. at Mercy Field at Lewis and Clark Park. Tickets for the season can be purchased online at XSBaseball.com, in person at the Lewis and Clark Park Box Office or by calling 712-277-WINS. You can catch all the X’s action on aabaseball.tv and on radio at KSCJ 94.9 FM and 1360 AM.