09/07/2018 11:18 PM
T-BONES PUSH EXPLORERS TO BRINK OF ELIMINATION
Sioux City, IA - The Kansas City T-Bones won the pivotal game three of the five game South Division Series 5-2 over the Sioux City Explorers and take a 2-1 series lead making Saturday’s game four a must win for Sioux City.
The Explorers drew first blood in the game in true X’s fashion as they manufactured a run. Jay Baum would beat out a double play. He then stole second base and would score on a bloop single by Blake Schmit to give the X’s a 1-0 lead.
But Kansas City would begin the trend of answering the Explorers whenever the X’s jumped out in front. Ryan Brett would hit his first home run as a Kansas City T-Bone over the left field wall tying the game 1-1.
Sioux City would take the lead back in the fifth inning as Luis Durango would reach on a one out infield single. Following a strikeout, Samson and Sermo would work back to back two out walks to load the bases. Dean Green would then walk home a run as Hunter Adkins the T-Bones starter walked three straight with two outs in the inning to give the X’s a 2-1 lead. That would do it for Adkins as the T-Bones would turn to their bullpen. Joe Filomeno would strike out Jay Baum with the bases loaded to end the threat.
Kansas City though answered right back in the top half of the sixth. Noah Perio lead off the inning with a walk. A strike out and a fly out put two outs on the board for X’s starter and American Association Rookie of the Year Justin Vernia but a base hit by Alay Lago would knock him out of the game. Patrick Schuster then walked Danny Hayes on four pitches and Parker Markel would replace him. Markel uncorked a wild pitch on his first offering from the pen with the bases loaded and two outs and it scored Perio to tie the game 2-2. He then struck out Anthony Phillips to end the threat and keep the game tied.
Vernia in the ball game for Sioux City would take the no decision as he went 5.2 innings, allowed 2 runs on 8 hits and struck out 3 while walking 2.
But Kansas City would take the lead for the first time in the game and for good in the seventh against Markel. Ryan Brett lead off the frame with an infield single as he finished the game 3-4 with two runs and an RBI. Mason Davis then dragged a bunt down the first base line and reached. Todd Cunningham dropped down the sacrifice bunt but the catch was not made at first and everybody was safe on the first Sioux City error of the series. Perio and Nieto then walked back to back with the bases loaded and no one out to give the T-Bones a 4-2 lead. Ryan Flores then replaced Markel and was dominant. He got the Explorers out of the bases loaded no outs jam still trailing only 4-2 and would pitch a scoreless eighth inning. Flores in this series has tossed four scoreless innings against Kansas City allowing just a single hit.
But for as good as Flores was so has the Kansas City bullpen. As the combination of Joe Filameno, Marcus Crescentini, Nick Lee and Cody Winiarski shut down the Explorers offensive attack for the final 4.2 innings. Not allowing any runs to score and allowing just two hits in that time.
Kansas City added a run against Explorers reliever Keith Picht in the ninth on an Alay Lago two out single to go up 5-2. In the ninth the X’s were able to get the tying run to the plate with their two big boppers Sermo and Green but the T-Bones closer Winiarski was able to work around them and collect the final two outs of the game to finish off the X’s.
The Explorers though were once again unable to come up with the big hit in the innings when they needed it most. As they were able to work eight walks against T-Bones pitching but only collected six hits in the ball game. They also left another 12 men stranded on the base paths and six of those in scoring position. Making it a total of 25 men left on base combined in games two and three both of which ended in Explorers losses. The X’s also went 1-8 with runners in scoring position in the ball game and now combined between games two and three are 4-23 (.173) with runners in scoring position.
Sioux City will try to stave off elimination in the five game series during game four on Saturday with first pitch set for 7:05. Kansas City will be throwing right hander Jared Mortensen and the Explorers will announce their pitcher before the game.