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New Jersey downs X's in series opener

SIOUX CITY | After their first meeting ever with the New Jersey Jackals, the Sioux City Explorers may not be too anxious for two more that lie ahead in a three-game interleague baseball series at Lewis and Clark Park.

 

Rocked for 17 hits by the Can-Am League team from Little Falls, N.J., the X’s tumbled to a 13-5 defeat while opening up a six-game homestand Monday night in front of a paltry crowd of 507.

 

It was a powerful offensive showing for a New Jersey team that plays its home games at Yogi Berra Stadium, just 25 minutes from where the former New York Yankees catcher earned his place in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

 

And, for the Jackals, it was a very welcome outburst after losing the final three games of a season-opening four-game series with the St. Paul Saints.

 

“I was impressed with the way they swung the bats,’’ said Sioux City Manager Stan Cliburn, whose team was 3-0 before dropping a 3-1 series final Sunday afternoon in Sioux Falls. “We were up in the zone tonight, though. Everything was up and they took advantage.’’

 

Cliburn’s team hopes to remain above the .500 mark when the teams square off at 11:05 a.m. today in a “Get Out Of School’’ promotion.

 

After Sunday’s lackluster offensive showing, the Explorers managed just four hits in the first six innings, getting two runs in that stretch on a Palmer Karr’s two-run homer two outs after a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fourth.

 

And, despite perking up with six hits and three runs in late-inning at-bats against a pair of rookie relievers, it was scarcely enough against a guest that blew open a 4-2 contest with four runs each in the sixth and ninth frames.

 

While the Jackals paraded home the season’s first nine runs allowed by the Sioux City bullpen, the Explorers were stymied by New Jersey starter David Filak, a young righthander who had struggled for three seasons in the lower echelons of the Atlanta Braves’ farm system.

 

An NCAA Division III All-American at SUNY-Oneonta, where he struck out 250 batters in 160.2 innings, the 6-6, 235-pound Filak was certainly no sure thing for the Jackals after going 8-22 with a 5.53 ERA in the Braves’ organization. But his independent professional baseball debut was nothing but encouraging to his new team.

 

“You aren’t going to beat anybody when you give up 17 hits,’’ said Cliburn, shrugging off the game’s other variables.

 

Rookie righthander Preston Olson, drawing the start for Sioux City, gave up seven hits and three walks in a four-inning stint, falling behind 4-0 after a pair of unearned runs in the top of the fourth.

 

Things truly turned sour, though, when Josh Poytress, a promising lefthander out of Fresno State, retired only four of the 10 batters he faced after coming on to start the fifth inning.

 

“Poytress has got a little bit of a tight forearm and he couldn’t find his release point,’’ said Cliburn. “We may have to shut him down for a few days.’’

 

Chris Duffy, Kyle Nisson and Nick Giarraputo each drove in three runs and contributed three hits for the Jackals, who also got a four-hit game from Chris Curran.

 

Meanwhile, Karr enjoyed a big night for the X’s, adding a single and a double to his second homer of the season.

 

Veteran first baseman Wally Backman, struggling in the No. 3 hole, poked an eighth-inning single for his first hit of the year, but a 1-for-5 night left him at 1-for-20. Similarly, third baseman Bryan Pounds, despite a seventh-inning homer to straightaway center field, is sitting at 3-for-18.

 

Article provided by Terry Hersom, Sioux City Journal