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Sioux City, IA - Facing elimination the Sioux City Explorers got a huge performance from starting pitcher Ian McKinney to force a winner take all game five as they shut out the Kansas City T-Bones 5-0.


Ian McKinney picked up his first post season win as he tossed a dominating 7 shut out innings, scattering 5 hits, allowing just 2 walks and picking up 3 strike outs. During his start and throughout the entire game McKinney never allowed a single T-Bone to reach third base. McKinney got a couple of double plays once in the fifth and once in the seventh to get out of those frames. Only twice did McKinney allow consecutive batters to reach and the lead off man got on for Kansas City just one single time.


The Explorers gave McKinney all the run support he needed in the second inning and it happened with two outs. Dean Green lead off the frame with a walk. But the next two men would be retired without Green advancing. With two outs in the inning Dylan Kelly was in a battle with T-Bones starter Jared Mortensen. With a 3-2 count and two outs in the inning, Green got a head start on the pitch and Kelly smacked it the opposite way off the left field fence. Green scored all the way from first and the X’s went in front 1-0. Then Daniel Jackson followed and he crushed his first career post season home run to left and put the X’s up 3-0.


But for much of the game that’s all either team would be able to muster up offensively. 


The X’s had a chance with runners on the corners with only one out in the fourth but were unable to bring home a run. 


The X’s turned to their bullpen in the eighth as Ryan Flores continued to keep the T-Bones at bay in this series as he and Patrick Schuster combined to pitch a scoreless eighth. 


In the home half of the eighth Sioux City was able to pad their lead. It started with a lead off walk of Dean Green. A strike out would follow but then a Blake Schmit single and a walk by Kelly loaded the bases with one out. Jackson then faced Jackson Lowery fresh out of the bull pen but Lowery walked him on four pitches to make it 4-0, and Luis Durango added a sacrifice fly to center to pad the Explorers lead 5-0.


In the ninth Eric Karch came on and set down Kansas City in order to finish the game and the shut out for the Explorers. It was the first time the Explorers have shut out the T-Bones during the 2018 season. 


With the win it sets up a winner take all game five from Mercy Field at Lewis and Clark Park on Sunday at 6:05. The winner will face the St. Paul Saints in the American Association Finals. It will be a pitching rematch of game one as Tommy Collier takes the hill for Kansas City and the Explorers will send out James Dykstra.