Six Run First Propels Explorers to Victory, 8-3
Sioux City, IA – The Sioux City Explorers notched their sixth straight win on Thursday night, defeating the Gary SouthShore RailCats 8-3.
Gary had jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first thanks to a Colin Willis RBI single but that lead would be very short lived.
Kyle Wren lead off the bottom half of the inning with a single to get the X’s rally started. Nate Samson then tied the game 1-1 with a double. After a Jose Sermo single and a walk the bases were loaded. Dexture McCall who has driven in 15 RBI’s in his last 10 games drove in another with a single to right giving Sioux City a 2-1 lead. Sebastian Zawada came to the plate with two down and the bags still packed and hit a laser to left that rang off the foul pole. Zawada’s first grand slam of his professional career gave the Explorers a 6-1 lead at the end of the first.
That would be more than enough for Carlos Sierra (5-0) who notched his longest outing of the season and his first quality start of the year. He threw six innings of three run ball, allowing just five hits and three walks while striking out six.
Gary got back into the game for a brief time in the top of the third when John Price Jr. homered to left with a man aboard to cut the X’s lead to 6-3.
But the Explorers got those two runs right back, Drew Stankiewicz homered for the fourth time this season, leading off the third by going the opposite way to left. Adam Sasser walked and Zawada had a whacky double that ricocheted off the pitchers glove, and into shallow left field to put runners at second and third with one out. Dylan Kelly then brought home Sasser with a ground out to push the X’s lead back up to 8-3.
From there however the bullpens for both sides took over and kept the game scoreless.
For Sioux City that began with Jose Velez Jr. who was making his first appearance in almost a month, having been sidelined with a hamstring injury since June 29th. Velez though looked to be fully healthy as he struck out three in his seventh inning.
Both Sam Held and Juan Aguilera tossed scoreless innings to end the game with Aguilera throwing a perfect ninth inning.
The Explorers struck out 12 RailCats in the ball game, and now 23 through the first two games of this series. Sioux City has now reached the double digit strike out mark in 22 games this season.
The X’s look to tie their longest winning streak of the season of seven games on Friday as well as the sweep over the RailCats on Friday. Right hander Eric Karch gets the ball for Sioux City and will face south paw Trevor Lubking of the RailCats with first pitch scheduled for 7:12 pm.
By Connor Ryan