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Eighth Inning Homer Wins it For X’s


Sioux City, IA - On the night where Michael Lang made his return to Sioux City while wearing a Saints uniform it was his replacement Jeremy Hazelbaker who ended up being the hero of the night for Explorers fans as he belted his first homer as a member of the Explorers over the right field fence with two outs in the eighth to give Sioux City a 3-2 win. 

Before the home run it seemed as though the Explorers were destined to head to the ninth in a tie ball game. St. Paul pitching had retired eight straight batters and Ken Frosch had mowed down the first five batters he faced. He even had Hazelbaker in a two strike count before Hazelbaker took him deep over the right field fence breaking a 2-2 tie. 

It had been an entertaining pitchers duel to that point with both starters earning quality starts but no decisions. Taylor Jordan for Sioux City was able to go six strong, allowing just a single run on only five hits with four strikeouts and a couple of walks. 

The lone run allowed came in the second inning after St. Paul loaded the bases with no one out on a hit batter, a single and an infield base hit. Blake Schmit drove the run home on a ground ball to third in which Jose Sermo recorded an out by stepping on the bag, but could not get the double play with the throw to first. Jordan would then get a strikeout and a ground out to escape the bases loaded, no one out jam by allowing only the single run. 

Missed opportunities became the story for St. Paul as they ended up leaving 10 runners stranded on base throughout the ball game. 

Jordan Jess was almost equally as good for the Saints. He too went six innings, allowing two runs on nine hits while striking out four and not allowing a walk. 

The X’s were able to score two unanswered runs off of Jess in two consecutive innings. In the fourth Kyle Wren lead off the inning with a base hit, and scored on a two out double by Jose Sermo to tie the game 1-1. 

In the fifth it was a lead off double by Drew Stankiewicz that was immediately cashed in by Dylan Kelly who grounded one up the middle to give Sioux City the 2-1 lead. 

St. Paul tied the game in the seventh after former Explorer Michael Lang walked to lead off the inning, stole second and came around to score on a Josh Allen broken bat single to tie the game. 

Sioux City’s bullpen was once again good, allowing just one run in three innings. Ryan Flores (3-2) picked up the win with a perfect eighth inning and Matt Pobereyko notched his 22nd save of the season by striking out the side in the ninth. Slamming the door shut on the Saints after the Hazelbaker home run. 

Sioux City and St. Paul continue the series on Wednesday in what promises to be another entertaining game from MercyOne Field at Lewis and Clark Park. Lefty, Andrew Chin, draws the start for the X’s while All-Star right hander Eddie Medina takes the ball for the Saints. First pitch is scheduled for 7:12 pm.