Hedges Shines in Explorers Victory
By Connor Ryan, Sioux City Explorers
Lincoln, NE (July 18th, 2022) – A three run first inning guided the Sioux City Explorers to a wire to wire victory over the Lincoln Saltdogs, 4-2.
A lead off single by Danny Amaral helped set up a Trey Martin RBI single to give Sioux City a 1-0 lead. With two outs in the first inning, Ademar Rifaela doubled off the left field wall scoring two to give Sioux City a 3-0 lead after a half inning.
The Saltdogs responded in the bottom of the frame, loading the bases with one out but only scored one run on a Matt Goodheart single to make it 3-1.
Lincoln added another in the third on a Goodheart double to center, scoring Josh Altmann who reached on a walk and stole second, pulling Lincoln closer at 3-2.
That’s as close as the Saltdogs got as Zach Hedges (1-4) allowed the two runs in six innings. He scattered seven hits and four walks while registering four strikeouts to earn his first victory of the season.
After the Rifaela double in the first, Lincoln All-Star starting pitcher Greg Minier (4-5) settled down and retired the next fifteen straight. However he was handed the loss as he was outdueled by Hedges. He went seven complete, striking out seven and not walking anyone but surrendered four runs on nine hits.
That fourth run for the X’s came in the seventh when Blake Tiberi singled to bring home Nate Samson giving Sioux City a 4-2 lead.
The advantage was held onto by Brandon Brosher who tossed two scoreless innings of relief and Thomas McIlraith (11) who notched the save with a perfect ninth inning with a couple of strikeouts.
Sioux City and Lincoln meet on Tuesday for a doubleheader beginning at 4:30. Patrick Ledet (2-2, 3.66) gets the ball for game one, with Sioux City yet to announce their starter for game two. Lincoln will throw Tucker Smith (1-3, 11.57) in the first game and Zach Keenan (3-2, 6.75) in the second.