Explorers Falter Late, Fall in 11
By: Dan Vaughan Jr., Sioux City Explorers
SIOUX CITY, IA – The Sioux City Explorers (9-4) suffered their first losing streak of the season, dropping their second game in a row Friday night as the Lincoln Saltdogs (5-8) pulled out the win in 11 innings by a score of 10-9. It was the second consecutive extra-inning loss for Sioux City.
Playing the extra inning tie breaker with a runner starting the inning at second base, both teams would score in the tenth inning. Lincoln would get an RBI double from Will Kengor off Sean Rackoski to take a 9-8 lead. Lincoln would load the bases with one out, but a double play ball off the bat of former Explorer Nate Samson ended the inning. Sioux City would start the inning with Miguel Sierra at second base, facing R.J. Freure (2-0). The Lincoln reliever would hit Matt Lloyd to put runners at first and second. A ground ball to third moved the runners up a step with one out. Lincoln would intentionally walk Daniel Perez, but a wild pitch would score Sierra to tie the game at nine. The X’s could not get the winning run home as Freure would retire Chase Harris and Jake Ortega to force an eleventh inning.
The Saltdogs would score the go-ahead run on a wild pitch moving the “zombie” runner Samson to third and a throwing error on catcher Ortega to take the lead off Heitor Tokar (0-1). Tokar would retire the Saltdogs in order to keep the game at 10-9. Matt Cronin would come in for Lincoln in the bottom of the inning and hold the lead for the visitors. Ortega began the inning at second for Sioux City. Jack Kelly would pinch hit for the X’s and lay down a sac bunt to move Ortega to third. Cronin would then retire Kyle Kasser on a ground ball to first and strike out Vince Fernandez looking to end the ball game.
Lincoln would jump out to a 1-0 lead in the first against Austin Drury. Drury would see the Saltdogs load the bases after taking a lead on an RBI single from Connor Panas but the lefty would induce a double-play ball to end the threat. The Explorers would tie the game in the home half of the second on a Jake Sanford RBI single, but Lincoln would come right back to take the lead in the top of the third on a two RBI double from Luke Roskam.
The X’s would take the lead on a three-run home run from Daniel Perez off John Bezdicek in the bottom of the third inning to make it 4-3. Lincoln would tie it on a sac fly from Drew Devine, but Sioux City would score in each of the next three innings to take a 7-4 lead. Drury would go six innings, giving up four earned runs with five strikeouts in a no decision.
The Saltdogs would score four in the seventh to take the lead. With two outs, Lincoln picked up back-to-back RBI singles from Nick Anderson and Luke Roskam to pull within one run. Yanio Perez would give Lincoln the lead on a two-run home run off Nate Gercken to close out the seventh. Sioux City would tie the game on a bloop single from Eury Perez off Carter Hope in the eighth inning to knot the game at eight.
Sioux City loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth but could not push across the winning run, setting the game up for the bonus baseball.
The Explorers and Saltdogs play game two of their three-game series Saturday night with the first pitch at 6:05 p.m. 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.