Cougars Rally in Ninth to Down Explorers
By Austin Thomas, Sioux City Explorers
SIOUX CITY, IA – Late runs continued to torture the Sioux City Explorers (11-9) as they lost 3-2 to the Kane County Cougars (9-11) on Friday night. The X’s saw a master class from starter Solomon Bates (2-2), but it was a two-run ninth inning that lost the X’s their eighth game in the past 11. The Cougars saw a fantastic performance from their starter as well, with CJ Eldred (1-1) going eight innings allowing only two runs en route to the victory.
The initial start of the game was delayed for 40 minutes after rain dampened the field, but both starters got out the gate strong. The first inning saw six up, six down between the two teams. The trend continued in the second, although Eldred issued a walk before inducing a double play. The pitching duel carried on through the third, with both starters continuing to hold the other club hitless.
The first run was scored in the fourth after the Cougars finally got to Bates with a walk and single before a sacrifice fly led to a run. The X’s also ended a no-hit bid in the fourth with a leadoff single from Daniel Perez off Eldred before the righty induced another double play. Bates returned to form in the fifth, getting through the inning scoreless. Eldred faced his first adversity of the game in the bottom of the fifth as the X’s put up back-to-back-to-back doubles with two outs to take a 2-1 lead. Eury Perez would push Sioux City out in front on the final double of the inning.
It was another three innings before the next run was scored, with Bates and Eldred going back and forth holding the opposition in check. With only one other complete game recorded this year in the American Association, Bates went back out to the bump for the ninth to try to notch the second. He was greeted with a homer off the bat of T.J. Bennett on the first pitch of the inning, to tie the game. Jimmy Kerrigan followed with a triple to right to put the go ahead run at third with no outs. Nate Gercken was summoned into the game to try to work out of the jam. Gercken struck out two, but a wild pitch sent Kerrigan home and gave the Cougars the lead before Gercken retired the final batter on a strikeout. The Cougars turned to closer Daniel Bies in the bottom of the ninth to close out the game. The X’s saw their first two batters go down before Chase Harris reached on a bunt single and moved to second on a throwing error. Unfortunately for Sioux City, Bies would induce a comebacker to the mound by Eury Perez to end the game.
The X’s face the Kane County Cougars in game two of the three game series Saturday night at 6:05 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.