Sioux Falls, SD-The Explorers continued their winnings ways in the month of August with an 8-5 victory that earned a split of a two-game series against the Canaries Wednesday night at Sioux Falls Stadium.
Sioux City (42-48) finished its season series with Sioux Falls (30-59) at 6-6. The Explorers went 3-5 at the Birdcage in 2014. The win also pushed the X’s record in August to 13-6. They sit 5.5 games back of first-place Gary SouthShore with 10 games left on the schedule.
For a second consecutive night, the Explorers opened the top of the first with multiple runs. Tim Colwell started a three-run frenzy with a one-out bunt single. Rene Tosoni (pictured) followed with a double to the gap in left-center that scored Colwell all the way from first. Brock Kjeldgaard then drew a walk to reach base, and Tom Mendonca drove in two more for a 3-0 lead with a long single off the wall to deep right.
Sioux City pushed single runs across in each of the third and fourth innings. In the third, Rene Tosoni laced his second double of the night to right-center and then scored on a base hit by Brock Kjeldgaard. An inning later, Tom Mendonca made it 5-0 on a solo home run to deep right. It was Mendonca’s third round-tripper of the season.
The Explorers built a 7-0 cushion with a run in the sixth and another tally in the seventh. Tom Mendonca singled to drive in Brock Kjeldgaard after he had doubled to lead off the inning. In the seventh, Tim Colwell doubled up the right field line and came around to score a triple off the left field wall from Rene Tosoni.
Sioux Falls cut into the lead with a three-run bottom of the seventh. Chris Valencia led off the inning with a single, and Stephen Branca drove him in with a two-run home run to deep right. Kevin Dultz then walked and later scored on an infield single by Brandon Jones. The Canaries threatened in the eighth but left the bases loaded. Sioux City added an insurance run in the top of the ninth for an 8-3 lead. The Birds managed to score twice in the bottom half for the game’s final margin.
John Straka had a strong start to pick up the win for Sioux City. Straka (8-5) worked seven innings and gave up three earned runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. Kyle Ruwe suffered the loss for Sioux Falls. Ruwe (5-7) lasted seven innings and yielded seven earned runs on 12 hits with one strikeout and one walk.
Tom Mendonca was the hitting star for the Explorers. Mendonca went 4-for-4 with a homer, three singles, and four RBIs. Rene Tosoni was 3-for-5 with two doubles, a triple, two runs and two RBIs. Michael Lang finished 3-for-4 for a second straight night. Brock Kjeldgaard collected two hits with two runs and an RBI. For the Canaries, Chris Valencia finished 4-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Brandon Jones had three hits with a run and an RBI. A.J. Kirby-Jones and Carlos Mendez each had two-hit games.
Sioux City has Thursday off before starting a three-game weekend series in Fargo on Friday. The X’s have just one home series remaining this season against Gary SouthShore August 26th-28th. For ticket information and promotion specials at Lewis & Clark Park, call 712-277-WINS or visit the Explorers website at www.xsbaseball.com.