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September 2, 2023

By Dan Vaughan Jr.




CHICAGO –  The Sioux City Explorers (52-46) fell behind early to the Chicago Dogs (53-41) and were forced to play from behind all night, dropping game three of the weekend series 9-5 on Saturday night at Impact Field.

Ryan Lidge drove in four runs for Chicago—the first pair on a first-inning two-run home run to left center off Explorers starter John Sheaks (7-8) to make it 2-0. Chicago added another run in the third on an RBI double from Payton Eeles to take a 3-0 lead.

Sioux City answered with a solo home run from Matt Lloyd off reliever Jonathan Cheshire (7-3) with one out in the top of the fourth inning to cut the lead to 3-1. It was his second homer of the series and his fourteenth on the year.

The Dogs would come right back to take control of the game in the bottom of the fourth. Matt Bottcher drove in Luke Mangieri, who had doubled to start the inning, with a one-out single. The Dogs would then load the bases with one out off Sheaks. It looked like the Explorers would get out of the inning only trailing 4-1, but what looked like a double play ended with an error on the relay throw to first base, allowing Nick Heath to reach and go to second on the throw. Chicago would score two more on the play to take a 6-1 lead.

The Explorers had chances to get back in the game in the sixth and seventh. In the sixth, the first three batters reached on a double, walk, and infield single, but the team would not score. The Dogs picked up a solo home run from Bottcher to make it a 7-2 lead heading to the seventh. In the seventh, the X’s did score a pair, but the big inning was still elusive. Chase Harris singled to lead off the inning off former Major League pitcher Jake Newberry. With one out, Daniel Lingua reached on an error at first by Mangieri. Scott Ota then singled home Harris, and John Nogowski added another RBI single to score pinch-runner Vince Fernandez to make it 7-3.

Chicago added an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh for an 8-3 lead on an error by Lingua on a roller off the bat of Bottcher. The final Dogs run came on an RBI single off Nate Gercken from Lidge to make it 9-3. The Explorers did make a late rally on a two-run home run by Vince Fernandez in the top of the ninth to close the gap to the final 9-5. Chicago would use five pitchers in the game to hold off the Explorers.

 Box Score

The Explorers continue their final road trip of the season Sunday in Rosemont, Illinois against the Chicago Dogs. Game three is set for a 3:00 p.m. first pitch.

The Explorers begin their playoff run Wednesday night, September 6 against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks at Newman Outdoor Field in Fargo at 6:30 p.m. Game two and three (if necessary) are scheduled for Friday, September 6 at 7:05 p.m. and Saturday 7 and 6:00 p.m. at Lewis and Clark Park. Tickets for the postseason can be purchased online at, in person at the Lewis and Clark Park Box Office or by calling 712-277-WINS. You can catch all the X’s action on and on radio at KSCJ 94.9 FM and 1360 AM with the pregame beginning 30 minutes prior to first pitch.