St.Paul, MN-The Sioux City Explorers battled to the final out of the ball-game plating two runs in the ninth to cut the lead to one, but would fall to the Saints 5-4 to start the series.
Sioux City scored the first and second runs of ball-game right away in the top-half of the first off an error by the first-baseman that scored Michael Lang from third base and Rene Tosoni from second.
St. Paul put up one run in the bottom half of the first. Steve Nikorak had a one out triple and would later score on the next at-bat off a Vinny DiFazio single to centerfield to cut the lead to 2-1. The Saints tied it in the fourth inning off a lead off double by Angelo Soncgo and an error by the shortstop that advanced him to third and home to score the second run for the Saints.
St. Paul would go on to score three more runs in the contest, a total of five on the night. In the bottom of the fifth, Vinny DiFazio smashed his seventh homer of the year with a two-run homer to make it 5-2 after five innings.
Good starting pitching held the Explorers to only two runs in the early innings, but in the ninth inning the X’s seemed to piece things together. Noah Perio Jr reached first off a one-out walk, stole second, and went go on to score off a RBI double to right to cut the lead 5-3. On the next at-bat Tommy Mendonca would make every St. Paul Saint fan’s heart skip a few beats with a towering fly-ball to deep centerfield but would get caught at the warning track for out number two. Matt Koch would single down the third-base side to advance Court and put runners at the corners with two outs. Ryan Court crossed home-plate off a wild pitch to cut the X’s lead to a lone run, but the Explorers still fell short 5-4 Monday night against St.Paul.
Jeff Marquez (4-2) was charged with the loss going seven strong innings, but allowing five runs (four earned) off seven hits, no walks and four strikeouts. The right-hander is still sporting a 2.49 earned run average on the season for the Explorers. Jimmer Kennedy pitched in relief for Sioux City striking out two in a scoreless eighth.
Saints starter Kramer Sneed received the win pitching an absolute gem in front of the home crowd. The left-hander went eight innings, allowed two runs (both in the first inning), on five hits, no walks while striking out two. Lefty Dylan Chavez would get the save.
Sioux City had seven hits on the night with two batters finishing with double-digit hits. X’s second baseman Ryan Court went 2 for 4 with a run scored, RBI, a double and a stolen base. Rene Tosoni had two-hits and a run scored on Monday night as well.
St. Paul had seven hits on the contest also, with Steve Nikorak and Vinny DiFazio being the hot hitters. Nikorak had two hits, two runs and a triple, while DiFazio annihilated the ball at the plate going 2 for 4 with a homer and four runs batted in.
Sioux City and St. Paul will play games two and three on Tuesday at 7:05 and Wednesday-1:05 in St. Paul. For 2015 ticket information at Lewis and Clark Park, call (712) 277-WINS or visit the X’s website at www.xsbaseball.com