Berry, Bullpen Power Apollos Past Explorers
Sioux City, IA (June 30, 2021) – The Sioux City Explorers had the tying run at third base in the ninth inning but couldn’t finish off the ninth inning rally as the Houston Apollos picked up their first win over Sioux City this year 4-3.
The X’s jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first as LT Tolbert collected the first of his four hits in the game to lead off the inning and scored on a Nate Samson base hit.
After the top of the third that saw Houston take a 2-1 lead, Sioux City quickly tied the game up again in the bottom half of the inning. Tolbert again scored thanks to Samson, as it was a sacrifice fly out to center field that tied the game at two, however the X’s left the go ahead run at third.
Jonah Smith made his first professional start taking a no decision as he allowed two runs in four innings, giving up five hits while striking out five and walking one.
Houston took the lead for good in the fifth inning as Blake Berry crushed a two run homer to right to give the Apollos a 4-2 lead.
The home run came off of Explorers reliever Luke Jaksich (0-1) who was saddled with the loss as he allowed those two runs on three hits in an inning of work.
The following bottom of the fifth was a golden opportunity for the Explorers to score the tying runs as they loaded the bases with nobody out. But Houston got out of the inning and left all three Explorers on base as a couple of fly balls to right field and a strikeout ended the threat.
Getting the Apollos out of the jam and earning the win was Pierce Smith (2-1) as he tossed a perfect 1.2 innings striking out and walking one.
Sioux City’s bullpen was once again fantastic from the sixth inning on. Matt Quintana, Danny Hrbek, Brandon Brosher and Jose Velez all combined to throw four perfect innings while striking out nine.
In the ninth Sioux City once again had a chance to tie the game as LT Tolbert singled and Chase Harris doubled with two outs in the ninth. A balk from Ryan Richardson scored Tolbert from third, but The X’s were unable to bring Harris as Richardson earned his fourth save of the season with a strikeout of Jose Sermo.
Sioux City had nine hits in the ball game, however, seven of those came from LT Tolbert and Chase Harris.
Houston and Sioux City will face off in the rubber game of the series on Thursday with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm. Southpaw Brett Adcock (1-4, 4.80) will be on the bump for the X’s and left Yosmel Naranjo (0-6, 10.12) will be on the other side for Houston.
By Connor Ryan, Sioux City Explorers