Sioux City, IA-The Explorers forced extra innings with a two-run seventh before eventually losing 6-5 to Gary SouthShore Thursday night at Lewis & Clark Park.
The RailCats (12-8) jumped out of the starting blocks right from the opening pitch. Danny Pulfer led off the top of the first with a line-drive single to right. Drew Martinez followed with a single to center. A passed ball put Pulfer at third. The first run scored on a ground ball out to second by Zac Mitchell. Ryan Babineau made it 2-0 with a single to center that scored Martinez. Sioux City (6-16) answered back with a run in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Rene Tosoni walked and Nate Samson doubled to right-center. Andres Perez later drove in Tosoni with a sacrifice fly out to center.
The second inning produced more scoring for both squads. Cody Bishop led off for Gary with a double to the right field wall. Danny Pulfer reached on a bunt single. With runners at first and third, Drew Martinez singled up the left-field line to drive in Bishop. Zac Mitchell then reached on a bunt single as well. Two more came across for a 5-1 lead on a single to left by Ryan Babineau. The Explorers again bounced back to plate a run in the bottom of the inning. Peter Barrows led off with a hard single to right-center. Luke Murton punched a line-drive single to center. Todd Jennings reached on an error. After a strikeout, Rene Tosoni hit a sacrifice fly to right that scored Barrows from third. A fly out ended the rest of the Sioux City threat and it was 5-2 after two.
The X’s added a run in the fourth to make it 5-3. Sioux City then crafted a two-run seventh that tied the game at 5-5. Michael Lang reached base leading off with a walk. Rene Tosoni then smashed a double over the head of the center fielder to make it a one-run game. With Nate Samson at the plate, Tosoni reached third on a pick-off attempt that was launched into center field. Samson doubled to right and ended up on third with nobody out after a throwing error by the right fielder. Two ground outs and a line-out later left Samson stranded at third in a tie game.
Gary SouthShore scored the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run in the top of the tenth. Adam Taylor doubled off the right field wall leading off the inning. With two outs, Drew Martinez singled to center to make it 6-5. Sioux City had a one-out walk in the bottom half but left the runner stranded at first to end the game.
The RailCats used five pitchers on the night, and Chuck Fontana posted the win in relief. Fontana (1-0) worked two innings with two strikeouts, two walks, and did not give up a hit. Jimmer Kennedy took the loss for the Explorers. Kennedy (1-2) went two-and-a-third in relief and gave up one earned run on two hits with two strikeouts and no walks. At the plate, Drew Martinez led Gary’s 12-hit attack with a 3-for-6 night. He also scored twice and had two RBIs. For the Explorers, Nate Samson, Peter Barrows, and Luke Murton all went 2-for-5. Rene Tosoni was 1-for-2 with two runs and two RBIs. Sioux City is now 1-2 in extra-inning games, while Gary is 4-0 in extras. The Explorers have lost five straight after the four-game sweep by the RailCats.
Sioux City starts a new six-game road trip tomorrow night with the first of three in St. Paul. First pitch against the Saints is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. The Explorers return home Friday, June 13th against Grand Prairie. For ticket information and promotion specials at Lewis & Clark Park, call 712-277-WINS or visit the Explorers website at www.xsbaseball.com.