BOX SCORE-Game One
BOX SCORE-Game Two
Lincoln, NE-The Explorers closed out the 2014 season with a Labor Day doubleheader split against the Saltdogs, winning game one 6-3 and losing game two 12-6 Monday afternoon at Haymarket Park.
Sioux City (47-53) lost the series 3-games-to-1 and ended its season series with Lincoln at 3-5. The Saltdogs (54-46) are the Central Division champions and will face Winnipeg in the opening round of the American Association playoffs.
In game one, Brock Kjeldgaard staked the Explorers to a 1-0 lead with a second-inning lead-off home run to deep left-center. Sioux City added two more in the third as Tim Colwell produced an RBI single that drove in Chris Escobar. Michael Lang made it 3-0 after he singled on the infield and later scored on a fielder’s choice. Lincoln drew even with a three-run fourth. Former Explorer Eddie Young had an RBI single and Chad Mozingo drove in two more with a base hit. The X’s reclaimed the lead for good in the sixth. Rene Tosoni poked a one-out double up the left field line. Kjeldgaard then smashed a line-drive RBI single into center that scored Tosoni. Sioux City added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh as Colwell doubled into the right field corner with Ramon and Escobar scoring from second and third.
On the mound, John Straka (pictured) picked up the win for the Explorers. Straka (9-5) worked five innings and gave up three earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts and three walks. Justin Kuks took the loss for Lincoln. Kuks (5-6) lasted six innings and allowed four earned runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and one walk. Alex Burnett worked around a seventh-inning error to earn the save. Burnett struck out two of the four batters he faced.
Sioux City scored first again in game two. In the second inning, Tom Mendonca singled and later scored on a double by Dillon Usiak. In the home half of the second, though, Lincoln took the lead for good with a four-spot. The inning was highlighted by a two-run home run from Mike Gilmartin. The Explorers cut the lead to 4-2 in the top of the third. Michael Lang reached on an error and scored on a Rene Tosoni single to center. A five-run third for the Saltdogs proved too much to overcome. Lincoln only managed one hit in the inning, but three walks and four errors contributed to the outburst. The Saltdogs used a three-run home run from Jeremy Hamilton in the fourth to extend the lead to 12-2. In the fifth, Peter Barrows launched a three-run home run up the left field line that made it 12-5. The X’s scratched a run across in their final at-bat in the seventh for the game’s final margin.
In his first professional start, Jake Meiers posted the win for Lincoln. Meiers (3-3) went five innings and gave up five runs (four earned) on six hits with five strikeouts and one walk. Patrick Johnson suffered the loss for Sioux City. Johnson (9-7) worked just two innings and yielded five earned runs on four hits with two strikeouts and three walks.
Sioux City finished the season with a record of 47-53. The 47 wins are nine more than last season. For 2015 ticket information and promotion specials at Lewis & Clark Park, call 712-277-WINS or visit the Explorers website at www.xsbaseball.com.