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SIOUX CITY, IA - An exciting, heart pounding finish in the home opener saw the Explorers notch their seventh win on the season. 


The X’s got on the board early with two runs in the top of the first. Michael Lang singled with one out who was then followed by a walk by Jay Austin. Nate Samson doubled down the right field line to drive home Lang and move Austin to third who then scored on a Jay Baum sacrifice fly to right field to make it 2-0 Sioux City. 


That was all Sioux City would score off of Cleburne starter Patrick Young who ended up twirling 6 innings of 2 run ball, allowing 3 hits while striking out 4 and walking 3 and ended up with a no decision. 


Not to be outdone Explorers starter Keith Picht started his night by throwing a perfect 3 innings. He would run into trouble though in the fifth when Cleburne was able to score twice off the Sioux City starter and tie the game 2-2. 


Picht ended up throwing 5 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, striking out 5 Railroaders and only walking one also coming away with a no decision. 


Sioux City threatened in the fifth when they had runners on second and third with only one out. But Jay Austin would fly out to Railroaders right fielder Cameron Monger. On the play Dexture McCall tagged from third and attempted to score but was thrown out by Monger to end the inning and the threat and keep the game tied 2-2. 


The Explorers would turn to their bullpen who tossed another incredible four innings of shut out baseball. Highlighted by Eric Karch who came out of the pen and struck out the first 5 Railroaders he faced. Tyler Fallwell would pitch an inning and a third scoreless out of the pen, working around two singles in the eighth to keep Cleburne off the board he was credited with the win (1-0).


Sioux City would come through in their half of the eighth when Jay Austin worked a one out walk against Cleburne reliever Sean Blackwell. Austin would then steal second base. After a Nate Samson fly out to centerfield, Jay Baum would drive home the winning run with a base hit into left field. Blackwell was saddled with the loss (0-2). 


Geoff Broussard started the ninth with an out but would walk two straight Railroaders. After picking up a strikeout he would hit KC Huth with a pitch and depart the game with the bases loaded and two outs and the X’s clinging to a one run lead. Steve Montgomery called on Ryan Flores to pick up the final out of the game. And Flores got Alex Polston to pop out to left field to end the game and leave the bases loaded. 


With the win Sioux City improves to 7-1 on the season and 15-11 all time in home openers. The X’s will take on the Railroaders in game 2 on Saturday night with first pitch at 7:05.