Explorers Comeback Falls Short Against RedHawks
By Dan Vaughan, Jr., Sioux City Explorers
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The calling card of the Sioux City Explorers has been getting good starting pitching out of the gate all season long and keeping games close. Saturday night that card did not come out of the deck as the Sioux City Explorers (47-44) fell behind early and would see their comeback fall short in a 8-6 loss to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (45-47) at Lewis and Clark Park.
On a day that saw the X’s make a flurry of moves, it was the defending American Association champion RedHawks who looked poised to make a long postseason run. Fargo-Moorhead scored four runs in the top of the first inning off Sioux City starter Mitchell Verburg (5-4). Dillon Thomas and Leo Pina would both single with one out to put runners at second and third with Pina moving up on a throw to third. Manny Boscan hit a sac fly to right to make it 1-0 RedHawks. Correlle Prime would follow with a two out single to make it 2-0. Evan Alexander then reached on a single to put runners first and second. Scott Schreiber hit a double off the top of the wall in left to score two more runs, and it was 4-0 Fargo-Moorhead.
Verburg would settle down and work two scoreless innings before the RedHawks grabbed two more runs in the fourth. Sam Dexter doubled to start the inning. Michael Falsetti would walk to put runners at first and second. Alec Olund would single home Dexter and go to second on the throw home from right field. On the throw back to second base by Wilfredo Gimenez, Falsetti snuck around third and scored to make it 6-0. Verburg would then retire the next nine batters before leaving after six.
Kelvan Pilot (1-4) picked up the RedHawks second straight quality start. He held Sioux City hitless through the first 3.1 innings and would allow one hit and two walks before the X’s got to him in the sixth. The right-hander would scatter four hits and give up three runs before leaving the game after six innings. In the home half of the sixth, the Explorers scored three runs, highlighted by a two-RBI single from Gimenez to cut the lead to 6-3.
Fargo-Moorhead would get another run in the seventh on a double play ball from Manny Boscan in the seventh inning off Trenton Toplikar. Toplikar was making his first appearance since July 25 when he was hit in the head by a line drive in Winnipeg.
With the lead now 7-4, Alex DuBord would take over for the RedHawks on the mound in the bottom of the seventh. Sioux City would see Delvin Zinn and Chase Harris both single to start the inning. With one out, the newest Explorer Daniel Lingua would work a walk to load the bases. Garrett Alexander would relieve DuBord for the RedHawks. Matt Lloyd would draw a bases-loaded walk to get another run on the board to make it 7-4. John Nogowski hit a sac fly to right to cut the lead to 7-5 but Alexander struck out Vince Fernandez to keep it a two-run ball game.
Carlos Diaz would work a scoreless top of the eighth for Sioux City, The X’s would crawl closer in the bottom of the eighth on a solo home run from Gimenez off Alexander, but the righty would retire the next three batters in order to head to the ninth in a one-run game.
Fargo-Moorhead would get a big insurance run on a pair of singles, a wild pitch and a sac fly from Correlle Prime. With the lead now 8-6, the RedHawks brought in Reza Aleaziz to close the door. He would walk Scott Ota, but a double play ball and fly to left ended the game and picked up his ninth save.
The loss for the X’s and a loss for the Sioux Falls Canaries up the road at the “birdcage” to Lincoln, maintained the Explorers one game lead for second place in the American Association West Division. Sioux City is still alive in the playoff hunt and has a magic number of eight to clinch one of the three remaining spots in the race.
The Explorers final regular season home game is Sunday August 27 against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks at 4:05 p.m. Tickets for the season can be purchased online as 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 with the pregame beginning 30 minutes prior to first pitch.