Verburg Gem Allows Explorers to Rally in Opener
by Austin Thomas, Sioux City Explorers
FARGO, ND– The Sioux City Explorers (40-36) took down the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (36-38) in the series opener 7-2 Wednesday night. The RedHawks took an early lead in the game, but the Explorers offense came alive in the fourth and eighth innings to overcome the early deficit. Sioux City now has a 2.5 game cushion over the Lincoln Saltdogs for second place in the West Division following the win.
The game started on the wrong foot for the X’s, who fell behind early thanks to Fargo’s Manuel Boscan’s solo homer in the first inning off Explorers starter Mitchell Verburg (4-4), giving the RedHawks a 1-0 lead. Fargo added one more later in the inning, when RedHawks Correlle Prime came up with an RBI single, sending Scott Schreiber home to score and making it a 2-0 game.
Sioux City finally got on the board in the fourth inning thanks to Tyler Rando’s RBI single off RedHawks starter Kevin McGovern (7-7) that sent Matt Lloyd across the plate, cutting it to a 2-1 Fargo lead. Later in the inning, Wilfredo Gimenez came up clutch for the X’s, ripping a two-RBI double to right field, giving the Explorers a 3-2 lead.
Sioux City kept the lead there until the eighth inning thanks to a dominant performance from Verburg, who finished the game 14 up, 14 down after 6.1 innings to allow just the two runs in the first inning. Carlos Diaz came in for the Explorers in the seventh and picked up the final two outs. The lefty would also work a scoreless 1-2-3 eighth inning for Sioux City.
In the top of the eighth, it was once again Explorers Tyler Rando who picked up an RBI single, this time off Fargo reliever Edgar Garcia, extending the X’s lead to 4-2. Rando would go 3-for-4 on the night for the Explorers. Sioux City’s Vince Fernandez followed that with his own RBI single, making it a 5-2 game before Kyle Kasser sent Rando home on a sac fly, extending it further to 6-2.
The X’s added one more run in the ninth thanks to Explorers Scott Ota’s single that ended in Daniel Perez scoring on Fargo center fielder Evan Alexander’s fielding error, making it 7-2.
Sioux City’s Brandon Brosher relieved Diaz for the ninth inning, slamming the door shut with two strikeouts to start the series with a win for the X’s. Sioux City is now 6-1 in August and has gone 8-2 this season against the RedHawks. It was the Explorers fifth win in seven games at Newman Outdoor Field this season.
The Explorers will play game two of the three game series Wednesday night against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks at 7:00 p.m. at Newman Outdoor Field in Fargo, North Dakota. 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.