Grand Prairie, TX-A late rally by the Explorers came up just short as they fell 8-7 to the AirHogs in the series opener Monday night at QuikTrip Park.
For a second consecutive night, Sioux City (18-27) found itself down multiple runs after the first two innings. Grand Prairie (18-26) put up a single tally in the first to open the scoring. The AirHogs added three more in the second for a 4-0 lead. Three walks, an error and a double by Jason Botts contributed to the outburst. All three runs in the inning were unearned. Grand Prairie added another run in the fourth for a 5-0 cushion.
The Explorers plated their first run of the night in the fifth. Amos Ramon (pictured) led off the inning with his first home run of the season. Dillon Usiak followed with a single and advanced to second on a passed ball. Todd Jennings moved Usiak to third with a base hit of his own. Newly acquired Chris Escobar walked to load the bases. A fielder’s choice off the bat of Oscar Mesa scored Usiak from third and it was 5-2. Tim Colwell cut the lead to two with an RBI single that scored Jennings. A 6-4-3 double play, though, ended the rest of the threat.
Each team produced a run in the sixth that made it 6-4 Grand Prairie. In the seventh, a two-out ground rule double by Alex Nunez scored two and gave the AirHogs an 8-4 lead.
Sioux City stayed on the offensive in the eighth. Andres Perez led off with a walk. A double from Peter Barrows put runners at second and third. Following a strikeout, Dillon Usiak walked to load the bases. A two-run single by Todd Jennings scored Perez and Barrows. Chris Escobar’s first hit in an X’s uniform then brought home Usiak and it was 8-7. Oscar Mesa reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second. A fly-out on the infield for the third out left runners stranded at second and third. The Explorers went silently in the ninth for an end to their two-game win streak.
On the mound, Aaron Wilkerson posted the win for Grand Prairie. Wilkerson (3-1) lasted seven innings and gave up four earned runs on nine hits with ten strikeouts and two walks. Wade Morrison suffered the loss for Sioux City. Morrison (0-2) went five innings and allowed six runs (three earned) on eight hits with five strikeouts and four walks. Dakota Watts pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his tenth save.
The Explorers outhit the AirHogs 12-11. Todd Jennings went 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Rene Tosoni, Peter Barrows, and Amos Ramon all had two-hit games in defeat. Jason Botts was 2-for-2 with three RBIs for Grand Prairie. Alex Nunez went 2-for-3 and drove in two. Jimmy Mojica had two hits and scored three times.
Sioux City continues its road trip in Texas Tuesday night with game two of the three-game set against Grand Prairie. First pitch is set for 7:05. Following the series with the AirHogs, the Explorers return home to face Wichita July 3rd through 5th. For ticket information and promotion specials at Lewis & Clark Park, call 712-277-WINS or visit the Explorers website at www.xsbaseball.com.