Explorers Comeback Falls Short
by Connor Ryan, Sioux City Explorers
Sioux City, IA (August, 17th, 2022) – The Sioux City Explorers scored three times in the bottom of the eighth but their comeback fell a run short as the Lincoln Saltdogs came away with a 5-4 win to force a rubber game.
The Explorers got off on the right foot with Danry Vasquez blasting a solo home run in the bottom of the first to take a 1-0 lead.
The Saltdogs hit a pair of home runs of their own to take the lead in the third. Randy Norris tied the game with a solo shot to left. After a Justin Byrd single, Rayder Ascanio clobbered a two-run homer to give Lincoln a 3-1 lead.
Lincoln padded that lead in the fourth on a two out single from Norris to score Welington Dotel who reached to lead off the inning after being hit by a pitch.
Patrick Ledet (4-4) was handed the loss for Sioux City as he allowed five runs on nine hits through five and one-third innings of work with six strikeouts and no walks.
In the sixth, the Saltdogs added their final run of the night on a two out single from Byrd to take a 5-1 lead.
Sioux City’s offense struggled to get anything going against Lincoln starter Zach Keenan (5-3) who was awarded the win by going six innings of one run ball, allowed three hits and struck out five and walked two. He finished the night by retiring the final eleven consecutive batters he faced.
Sioux City’s bats woke up again in the eighth. Two walks began the inning and after a pair of wild pitches, a ground out by Gabe Snyder plated a run to make it 5-2. Ademar Rifaela doubled to left to plate another and then scored on Sebastian Zawada’s single to pull the X’s to within a run 5-4.
Matt Cronin (2) made sure that was as close as Sioux City came to tying the ball game. He picked up the save by collecting the final four outs with a strikeout and a perfect ninth inning.
The Explorers now lead Lincoln by a game for the fourth place spot in the west division and play a pivotal rubber game on Thursday night at 7:05 pm. Kevin McCanna (8-4, 4.37) takes the mound for the X’s and right hander Garrett Delano (5-3, 4.53) gets the ball for Lincoln.