Bullard Shines in Railroaders Debut
CLEBURNE, Tex. (July 17, 2021) – Kody Bullard faced the minimum over six shutout innings in his first professional start, and the Cleburne Railroaders used a pair of big innings to blitz the Sioux City Explorers 10-3 on Saturday night at The Depot at Cleburne Station.
With the win, the Railroaders evened the series at one game apiece and moved back into second place in the South Division standings.
Bullard (1-0) allowed a single with one out in the first inning, but promptly induced a 6-4-3 double play. The left-hander then retired the next 12 hitters he faced, tossing 1-2-3 innings in the second through the fifth innings. He started the sixth with a walk and a single, but got Mitch Ghelfi to hit into a triple play. With the runners in motion, Ghelfi hit a soft line drive to second that Alay Lago caught on the slide. He threw back to first base to double up one runner, then Ramon Hernandez tossed back to second to complete the triple play. It was the second triple play in Railroaders franchise history, with the other coming against Sioux Falls on May 18 of 2019.
After recording just one hit through the first three innings against Sioux City starter Zach Hedges (5-4) Cleburne’s offense came to life in the fourth. Chase Simpson got the scoring started with a long sacrifice fly to right, then Hunter Clanin followed with a two-run home run for a 3-0 lead. After a walk and single, Colton Pogue grounded a ball to second that was bobbled by LT Tolbert, allowing another run to cross. Osvaldo Martinez capped the scoring in the inning with an RBI single for a 5-0 lead.
Cleburne (30-23) added four more runs in the fifth. Simpson sliced a ground-rule double to the gap in left-center to score one, then Noah Vaughan pounded a sacrifice fly to increase the edge to 7-0. John Nester delivered the big blow with a two-run single up the middle for a 9-0 cushion.
Sioux City (31-24) had a chance to rally in the top of the seventh, loading the bases with nobody out. Railroaders reliever Brendan Bell limited the damage to just one run in the inning on a sacrifice fly from Sebastian Zawada. The Explorers got two more runs in the eighth on a two-out, two-run single from Tolbert, trimming the Cleburne lead to 9-3.
Clanin provided the final scoring of the night with an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth. Landon Holifield pitched around a leadoff walk in the ninth to nail down the win.
The Railroaders and Explorers conclude the series on Sunday night at 6:00 PM. The Railroaders will start right-hander Jheyson Manzueta (3-1, 3.09), while Sioux City will counter with left-hander Patrick Ledet (4-2, 6.89).
For information on partnerships, season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Railroaders main office at (817) 945-8705, or visit the Railroaders official website at www.railroaderbaseball.com.
By Denning Gerig, Cleburne Railroaders