Miller Silences Explorers Bats in Series Opener
By Austin Thomas, Sioux City Explorers
SIOUX FALLS, S.D – The Sioux City Explorers (44-40) ran into a buzz saw Friday night in their series opening 5-0 loss to the Sioux Falls Canaries (43-42). That buzz saw was right-hander Seth Miller (3-3) of the Canaries, who tossed a complete game shutout holding the Explorers sticks to just three hits at Sioux Falls Stadium. The win cut the Sioux City lead to one and a half games in the American Association West Division over the Canaries, who won for their 11th time in 12 games.
After Miller sat down the Explorers in order in the top of the first, Sioux Falls would load the bases in the home half of the inning with one out. Sioux Falls would pick up their first run on a sac fly RBI from Trevor Achenbach off X’s lefty Austin Drury (3-5) to make it 1-0 Canaries.
Sioux Falls would pick up three more runs in a controversial bottom of the second. The Canaries Shamoy Christopher led off with a walk to start the inning. Wyatt Ulrich then put down a drag bunt on the right side of the infield that he would beat out for a single, but a collision with Sioux City second baseman Kyle Kasser would cause him to leave the game. On the play, a throwing error by Drury moved Christopher all the way around to third base. Mike Hart would come into the game and run at first for Ulrich. Ozzie Martinez would bounce into a four-six-three double play but push across the second run of the game for the Canaries.
Jordan Barth would then single and move to third on a double from Jabari Henry. Darnell Sweeney hit a sharp ball to third that Matt Lloyd made a spectacular diving play on. Lloyd would then recover and throw to first to apparently end the inning. John Nogowski, who returned to the team from Mexico before the game, made a stretch grab and the first base umpire ruled it was the third out to end the inning. The crew then met by the mound to discuss the play and the call was overturned. Sweeney was rewarded with an RBI single, scoring Barth from third and moving Henry to third base. Explorers Manager Steve Montgomery protested the call and was ejected from the game. With the score now 3-0 and two outs Achenbach delivered another RBI single to left to score Henry from third and extend the lead to 4-0.
The Explorers would get a runner on in the third and fourth inning and make their only serious threat with two on and two outs in the top of the fifth. From there Miller would retire the next 13 batters on the way to the win. The true rookie would walk two and strike out six and become the first pitcher this season to toss a complete game shutout against Sioux City.
Sioux Falls added to their lead in the bottom of seventh. Achenbach picked up his third RBI of the game on a single off Franklin Dacosta of Sioux City. In the eighth the X’s would lose Chase Harris and Pitching coach Bobby Post due to an ejection. The loss ended a streak of six consecutive series opening wins for the Explorers.
The Explorers and Canaries will play game two of their three-game series Saturday at 5:35 p.m. at Sioux Falls Stadium. 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.