Hernandez Rallies Railroaders to Victory in Ninth
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (Aug. 13, 2021) – The Cleburne Railroaders scored twice in the top of the ninth inning to sneak past the Sioux City Explorers 7-6 on Friday night at Lewis and Clark Park.
Entering the ninth inning trailing 6-5, Cleburne was tasked with rallying against Sioux City reliever Nate Gercken, who brought a 1.19 ERA into the game. After a ground out to start the inning, Alay Lago and Osvaldo Martinez reached on back-to-back singles. That brought up Ramon Hernandez, who ripped the first pitch he saw into left field for a hit. Lago raced around to score easily, and the throw to third base kicked off the glove of Jose Sermo into shallow left field. Martinez was waived to the plate and slid in safely with the go-ahead run.
In the bottom of the ninth, Edward Cruz pitched around a one-out walk with three strikeouts, fanning Chase Harris to end the game and nail down his seventh save.
Cleburne (42-35) sprinted out to a 5-0 lead early in the contest. The Railroaders scored two in the first on RBI singles from Hernandez and D.J. Peterson, and then added one more in the second on a Sioux City throwing error. A pair of two-out RBI singles from Hernandez and Martinez in the top of the fourth made it 5-0 Railroaders.
Sioux City (40-39) began the comeback in the bottom of the inning, scoring four times thanks in large part to home runs from Jose Sermo and Seamus Curran. The Explorers took the lead in the fifth on a run-scoring single from Sebastian Zawada and a Cleburne fielding error that put Sioux City in front, 6-5.
That’s where the score stayed until the ninth as both bullpens were excellent. Brendan Bell retired all six hitters he faced over two scoreless innings, and Austin Fairchild (5-4) induced a big double play to escape trouble in the bottom of the eighth. Meanwhile, Sioux City’s Max Kuhns fired two zeroes of his own before handing the ball off to Gercken (2-2).
The Railroaders and Explorers continue the series on Saturday night at 6:05 PM. Left-hander Kody Bullard (1-1, 3.15) gets the start for the Railroaders, while Sioux City counters with fellow southpaw Brett Adcock (3-8, 5.70).
For information on partnerships, season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Railroaders main office at (817) 945-8705, or visit the Railroaders official website at www.railroaderbaseball.com.
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