Walker Homers Again, Pitchers Dominate in Explorers Victory
Sioux City, IA (May 20, 2021) – Another Jared Walker home run and a dominant pitching performance lead the X’s to a 10-0 victory and a season opening sweep of the Houston Apollos on Thursday night.
With the first three games of the 2021 season Jared Walker showcased his power as he has hit a homerun in each game of the season. This time going to the opposite field in the second inning to give the X’s a 1-0 lead.
Southpaw Patrick Ledet made his Sioux City debut pitching four innings of shutout baseball, allowing five hits, one walk while striking out seven. He took a no decision.
Matt Quintana (1-0) earned the victory, following Ledet, as he threw two innings of shutout baseball striking out three and keeping the Apollos off the scoreboard.
Keeping Houston out of the run column was no easy task. They out hit the X’s in the ball game and threatened with a base runner in every inning they threatened tbut the X’s were able to cling to their 1-0 lead thanks in part to stranding 10 runners on base.
Nate Gercken made an appearance for the second consecutive night in the top of the seventh inning, he struck out two in a perfect frame.
Sioux City finally added to their slim lead in the seventh with a rare one hit rally. Back to back walks opened up the frame before chaos ensued on a Chase Harris sacrifice bunt attempt. Two throwing errors on the play by the Apollos defense lead to a run scoring for the X’s and putting runners at second and third. A Mitch Ghelfi sacrifice fly pushed the X’s lead to 3-0 and an LT Tolbert base hit finished the three run rally.
Sioux City blew the game open in the eighth with a six run frame. Three straight singles opened up the inning and led to a 5-0 Sioux City lead. An error, fielder’s choice and bases loaded walk, delivered three more runs for the X’s and Jared Walker book ended the X’s scoring with a two run single to put the finishing touches on the victory. In the first three games the Explorers have proven that they should be called the SpeedCity Explorers as the X’s have stolen a total of 11 bases.
Sioux City’s pitching was dominant in the series finale. Totaling 16 strikeouts after entering the night with 15 through the first two contests. And walking only two batters.
Sioux City improves their record to 3-0 before a weekend series of games against the Milwaukee Milkmen starting Friday, with the first pitch set for 7:05pm where the Explorers look to keep their winning streak alive and attempt what no other X’s team has done before and go 4-0. Right hander Nick Belzer is set to make his Sioux City debut.
by Connor Ryan, Sioux City Explorers