Amarillo, TX-The Explorers took a tenuous lead into the fifth before the Sox changed the outcome with one swing of the bat in a 5-1 victory Friday night at Amarillo National Bank Sox Stadium.
Amarillo (16-24) has won four of the first five contests against Sioux City this season. The Explorers (16-26) opened up the scoring with a single run in the second. Peter Barrows led off the inning with an infield single. Amos Ramon followed with a walk. A sac bunt by Dillon Usiak advanced runners to second and third. Todd Jennings then drove in Barrows with a sac fly to right for a 1-0 lead.
The score would hold up until the Sox came to bat in the bottom of the fifth. After a fly-out, there were back-to-back walks of Derek Perren and Brandon Pinckney. Cory Patton reached on a fielder’s choice, and one batter later Amarillo took the lead. Kyle Nichols homered to drive in Perren and Patton for a 3-1 advantage.
The Sox added two more tallies in the seventh for some insurance. Sioux City was held scoreless over the last seven frames. Amarillo starter Matt Larkins picked up the win and was one out shy of a complete game. Larkins (5-2) worked eight-and-two-thirds and allowed just one earned run on six hits with six strikeouts and three walks. For the Explorers, Patrick Johnson suffered his first road loss of the season. Johnson (3-2) lasted five innings and gave up three earned runs on three hits with three strikeouts and five walks. Erik Draxton pitched one-third of an inning and struck out a batter to earn his fifth save of the season. The X’s left two men stranded in the ninth.
Oscar Mesa (pictured) and Nate Samson each collected two hits for the Explorers. For the Sox, Kyle Nichols went 2-for-4 in the cleanup spot. He scored a run and had four RBIs on the night. Neither team committed an error.
Sioux City continues its road trip in Texas Saturday night with the second of three at Amarillo. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. Following a road series at Grand Prairie, the Explorers return home to face Wichita July 3rd through 5th. For ticket information and promotion specials at Lewis & Clark Park, call 712-277-WINS or visit the Explorers website at www.xsbaseball.com.