Pitching Dominates in Explorers Sweep
By Dan Vaughan, Jr., Sioux City Explorers
CHICAGO – The Sioux City Explorers (52-45) rode all night from Kansas City knowing the team had a 4:00 PM start to a doubleheader on Friday night in Rosemont. The long ride and the bleary eyes did not hold Sioux City back in a two-game sweep of the double dip over the Chicago Dogs (53-40) as the Explorers put the Dogs in the doghouse on Friday.
The Explorers got a quality start from Mitchell Verburg (6-4) who tossed six innings of three hit ball, taking down the Dogs 4-1. Matt Lloyd jumped on Chicago starter Steven Lacey (2-1) in the first inning with a two-run home run to right field to ignite the X’s with an early 2-0 lead.
Chicago would pick up their only run in the second on an RBI single from Matt Bottcher off Verburg to cut the lead to 2-1. The Explorers would buy two insurance runs in the top of the fifth on an RBI double from Scott Ota and a sac fly from John Nogowski.
Verburg retired the Dogs in order in the sixth as they went to the seventh. After the X’s went quietly in the top of the seventh, Sean Rackoski took over on the mound for Sioux City. He retired the Dogs in order to notch his 20th save as Sioux City claimed the first win of the double header.
Making his first start since July 20, Trenton Toplikar pitched 4.1 innings in game two against the Chicago Dogs, scattering five hits and holding the Dogs to only two earned runs. The Explorers would fall behind 1-0 on a second inning sac fly from Matt Bottcher, but Sioux City would come right back in the top of the third to take the lead. John Nogowski would walk with one out off Chicago starter D.J. Snelton (1-3). Then, Matt Lloyd would tie the game at one on an RBI double. Tyler Rando then hit a two-run home run to left to give Sioux City the lead at 3-1.
Chicago cut the lead to 3-2 on an RBI double from Jesus Lujano in the fifth, but Carlos Diaz (1-3) would come into the game in the end and retired the next two batters, preserving the lead. Max Kuhns worked the next two innings, closing out the 3-2 win for Sioux City.
The Explorers continue their final road trip of the season Saturday in Rosemont, Illinois against the Chicago Dogs. Game three is set for a 6:00 p.m. first pitch. Stay tuned to the Explorers website and social channels for updates about playoff details and ticket information. Tickets for the post 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.