Explorers Swept by Cougars
By Austin Thomas, Sioux City Explorers
SIOUX CITY, IOWA – It was a high-powered offensive showing in the first six innings before the bullpens lit it up as the Sioux City Explorers (11-11) lost 8-7 to the Kane County Cougars (11-11) Sunday night. Matt Lloyd returned to batter of the week form, but it wasn’t enough as the Cougars saw all-around offense early on. Both bullpens locked it down past the sixth, but it was Kane County who took the win and the series sweep.
Righty Mitchell Verburg started on the mound for the X’s, making his return from a hamstring injury sustained on May 24 at Sioux Falls. In the first inning, Verburg allowed and unearned run on an RBI single to Jimmy Kerrigan that scored Josh Allen to take a 1-0 lead. Chase Harris hit a single in the bottom of the inning off Kane County starter Luke Westphal, but he was caught stealing as the X’s went three up, three down.
Heitor Tokar took over on the mound for the X’s, getting a perfect second inning in relief. Vince Fernandez led off the bottom of the frame with a bang, cranking a home run off Westphal to tie the game at 1-1. It was a huge third inning for both teams offensively, as Kane County started off scoring four runs off Tokar to take a commanding 5-1 lead early. The X’s responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. Delvin Zinn led off, reaching on an error by Pete Kozma and to third before Chase Harris pulled a one-out walk. Ryan Richardson relieved Westphal and Matt Lloyd promptly hit his seventh homer of the year to cut the deficit to one.
Brandon Brosher (1-1) helped keep the fourth inning scoreless for the X’s. Jonah Davis hit a one-out homer off Brosher in the fifth to make it a 6-4 ballgame, but the X’s snagged three runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead. Lloyd picked up another RBI single that scored Kyle Kasser, and Ortega hit a two-RBI single off Cougar reliever Spencer Van Scoyoc (3-1) to make it 7-6. The Cougars once again responded, grabbing the lead right back in the sixth, scoring two runs in top of the inning to take an 8-7 lead.
In the seventh inning, Kent Hasler relieved Tokar for the X’s and pitched a perfect frame. Kane County got another shut down inning from Van Scoyoc to maintain their lead. Daniel Bies came in for Kane County in the eighth inning and would work out of a jam with two runners on and one out. Sioux City would have one final shot in the bottom of the ninth, getting two runners on with two outs but would not cash in.
The X’s will be off Monday then begin a three-game series with the Sioux Falls Canaries Tuesday night June 6 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.