Fernandez Leads Explorers to Series Victory
By Austin Thomas, Sioux City Explorers
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The Sioux City Explorers (37-35) completed the series sweep of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (35-35) Thursday night, winning 5-4. The Explorers trailed by four in the third inning but came back to claim the victory behind a four-run third of their own. The win puts Sioux City ahead of Fargo for second place in the West Division after a 5-1 run against the first-place Monarchs and now third place RedHawks.
The RedHawks exploded onto the board in the third after two quiet innings when Fargo rookie Peter Brookshaw recorded his first professional home run off X’s starter Heitor Tokar, which just so happened to be with the bases loaded in a scoreless game, giving the RedHawks a 4-0 lead.
Sioux City began to claw its way back in the bottom of the frame, starting with X’s Jake Ortega advancing home from Matt Lloyd’s sac fly, cutting it to 4-1. Explorers Tyler Rando followed with a single off RedHawks starter Colten Davis to send home Chase Harris and cut the lead to 4-2. With two outs and Rando on first, Sioux City’s Vince Fernandez stepped to the plate and sent a rocket to left field, tying it 4-4.
The game remained deadlocked into the fifth when Scott Ota hit a single and was pushed to third on back-to-back walks before he was sent home on Vince Fernandez’s go-ahead sac fly off newly signed RedHawks pitcher Tasker Strobel, giving the X’s a 5-4 lead.
Explorers Tokar finished his night after six complete innings for his longest outing of the season before Carlos Diaz took over with two perfect innings. Sean Rackoski closed the game for Sioux City with a three up, three down ninth inning including two strikeouts to earn his 13th save of the season and nail down the win.
The Explorers will hit the road for a six-game road trip beginning Friday night in Chicagoland against the Gary SouthShore Railcats. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. from the Steel Yard in Gary, Indiana. 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.