Tolbert Leads Explorers Past Dogs in Night Cap, 5-3
Rosemont, IL — Some timely hitting, clutch pitching out of the bullpen and a very costly error helps the X’s win game two of the day night doubleheader with Chicago by a final score of 5-3.
After dropping game one of the twin bill, the Sioux City Explorers faced an early deficit again in game two. Brennan Metzger started where he left off from game one, as he roped a double down the left field line to lead off the bottom of the first inning. A wild pitch moved him to third, where he would eventually score on a double play making it 1-0.
In the third, the X’s were able to briefly tie the game as LT Tolbert began his big offensive night with a double down the left field line. Like Metzger in the first inning he advanced to third on a wild pitch. He scored after Lane Milligan hit a single to right center with two outs in the inning tying the game at one apiece.
But Chicago answered right away in the home half of the third. Metzger led things off being hit by a pitch, and a Danny Mars infield single put two aboard for KC Hobson who lined a double to the left center field gap scoring both base runners and giving the Dogs a 3-1 lead.
That lead remained intact until the fifth. Nate Samson led off the top of the frame with an infield single, snapping an up to that point, 0-17 stretch for the former league MVP. Immediately after Samson reached, LT Tolbert clobbered a two run home run down the right field line to tie the game at three.
Lane Milligan worked a one out four pitch walk which knocked Chicago starter Connor Grey from the game. Grey was replaced by Jake Dahlberg who walked the first batter he faced in Jared Walker to put two aboard. A ground out allowed both to advance to second and third. Sebastian Zawada then hit a pop up that looked like it would get the Dogs out of the inning with a tie game. But the ball popped out of the glove of Dogs shortstop Johnny Adams and the error allowed two runs to score and Sioux City took a 5-3 lead.
The go ahead run was charged to Dogs starting pitcher Connor Gray (1-1) and despite the fact that it was unearned he was still saddled with the loss. He pitched 4.1 innings allowing the four runs, three earned on seven hits, with five strikeouts and a pair of walks.
Zach Hedges, the Explorers starter for the second game, lasted four innings allowing three runs, all earned on four hits with three walks and one punch out. Hedges threw 58 pitches in his outing with only 28 being strikes. He earned a no decision as the Explorers quickly turned to the bullpen after being handed the lead.
Danny Hrbek (1-1) earned the win as he tossed an inning of relief immediately following Hedges. Hrbek gave up a single and a walk but was able to strikeout Ryan Lidge with two on to end the fifth and keep the X’s in front 5-3.
From there Sioux City turned to the usual suspects out of the bullpen with Nate Gercken pitching a clean sixth inning with two strikeouts and Matt Pobereyko (4) who earned the save by striking out the side in a perfect ninth inning. Pobereyko now has five appearances and four saves on the year, striking out 10 batters in five perfect innings of work, and has not allowed a base runner to reach.
Sioux City and Chicago will now meet on Sunday afternoon for the rubber game of the three game series with first pitch scheduled for 3:05. The Explorers send right hander Tyler Beardsley (2-0, 3.85) to the mound, he will be opposed by Jonathan Crawford (0-0, 4.90) who will be making his first start of the year.
by Connor Ryan, Sioux City Explorers