Explorers Crush Canaries to Even Series
By Dan Vaughan, Jr., Sioux City Explorers
SIOUX FALLS, S.D – The Sioux City Explorers (45-40), who had scored just one run in their last two games, made up for that drought Saturday night by scoring 11 runs on 13 hits in a 11-3 win over the Sioux Falls Canaries (43-43) at Sioux Falls Stadium.
The Explorers would strike early on Canaries starter Mitchell Walters (7-4) who had come into the game with back-to-back quality starts and with two wins and just three earned runs in 12 innings. Sioux City would load the bases in the first in a foreshadow of things to come in the second. With one out, Miguel Sierra and Chase Harris would walk. Scott Ota then launched a triple off the wall in center to score Sierra and Harris, taking an early 2-0 lead. Matt Lloyd followed with an RBI single to score Ota to tack on another run. John Nogowski would single and put runners at the corners. Tyler Rando singled to right to score Lloyd, making it 4-0. Walters would strike out Vince Fernandez for the second out in the inning. Kyle Kasser hit a fly ball to left that was dropped by Logan Eickhoff to bring home the fifth run and put the X’s in the driver’s seat 5-0.
While the bats set the tone early, lefty Jared Wetherbee would get off to a solid start as well for Sioux City. The southpaw had missed his last start and was on a pitch count but held the Canaries to one run on a Jordan Barth double and an error in right field in the home half of the third inning. Wetherbee would allow just one earned run on two hits with a pair of walks and three strikeouts to get a no decision.
Walters retired the X’s in the third in order, but the home half of the fourth would be the end of the line for Walters as Sioux City would ring the register four more times. Nogowski would work a one-out walk and be followed by Rando who would single to put runners at the corners. Fernandez then walked to load the bases with one out. Kasser would pop out to third for the second out, and the Explorers would capitalize. Walters surrendered a double off the bat of Wilfredo Gimenez that carried off the right field wall to wipe the sacks clean and make it 9-1.
Sioux City would turn to the pen in the fifth inning with newly signed Braunny Munoz (1-0). The right-hander would work four innings to record the win in relief while Parker Caracci added a scoreless inning to close out the game.
The Explorers would pick up a solo home run from Nogowski off Cole LaLonde in the seventh—his third of the season and his first since returning to the team on Friday. He would join Rando who both had three-hit nights for Sioux City. The Canaries got solo shots from Mike Hart and Hunter Clanin in the eighth to cut the lead to 10-3. Sioux City added one more tally in the top of the ninth off Chris Hardin. Daniel Perez would lead off with a walk and come home on a double by Fernandez just below the scoreboard in right center to make it an 11-3 final for the Explorers. Fernandez joined Ota with two hits on the night.
The Explorers and Canaries will play game two of their three-game series Sunday at 12:05 p.m. at Sioux Falls Stadium. The X’s will send RHP Mitchell Verburg (3-3, 3.89) to the mound to face Ty Culbreth (6-5, 6.90) for the Canaries. 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.