SIOUX CITY EXPLORERS PRESS RELEASE
September 8, 2023
Dan Vaughan Jr.
DOWN GOES FARGO-MOORHEAD
EXPLORERS WIN PITCHERS’ DUEL
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The Sioux City Explorers (2-0) and Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (0-2) sent out two of the leagues’ best arms Friday night in a pitching dual for the American Association ages at Mercy One Field at Lewis and Clark. The RedHawks blinked twice, while the Explorers would pull off the series clinching win 2-0.
Fargo-Moorhead sent out right-handed rookie Colten Davis (0-1), who came in after being named the circuit pitcher of the month of August and having tossed four straight quality starts. The X’s would make it five as he would hold them to one run, but that run—plus an eighth inning insurance policy—was enough to move the Explorers to the West Division Championship series against the leagues’ top record in the regular season, the Kansas City Monarchs.
In the other dugout, it was Mitchell Verburg (1-0), who threw six shutout innings and worked ahead in the count to all the batters he faced to pick up the win for Sioux City. The Explorers pen then locked down the RedHawks over the next three innings, where the staff would combine to first pitch strike Fargo-Moorhead in 23 of 31 at bats. Carlos Diaz, Max Kuhns and Sean Rackoski each worked a scoreless inning to preserve the win.
The X’s lone run came in the home half of the fourth off Davis. Kyle Kasser would walk to start the inning. Chase Harris struck out, and Delvin Zinn was out on batters’ interference for the first two outs. After a wild pitch, Scott Ota hit a fly ball to right that right fielder Alec Olund lost in the lights, dropping for a double and scoring Kasser for the 1-0 lead.
The RedHawks would get two on with two outs in the fifth inning, but Verburg would strikeout pinch hitter Evan Alexander to end any threat. The Oregon native would work a 1-2-3 sixth to finish his night off, holding the defending champions to two hits over six innings with four strikeouts.
Sioux City would ring the register with an insurance run in the home half of the eighth inning. Vince Fernandez would work a one-out walk off reliever Garrett Alexander. A wild pitch moved Fernandez to second, and a single to left by Wilfredo Gimenez put runners at the corners. Kasser then put down a perfect bunt single to score Fernandez to make it 2-0 Sioux City.
Sean Rackoski came in for the Explorers and would sit down the RedHawks in order by striking out Dillion Thomas, retiring Leo Pina on a ground ball to second, and then striking out John Silviano to send the X’s on to a date with the Monarchs.
The Explorers move on to the West Division Championship Series to face the Kansas City Monarchs who dispatched Sioux Falls on Friday night 4-0. The race for the American Association Championship and the Miles Wolff Cup continues Monday at Mercy One Field at Lewis and Clark Park for game one of a best-of-three-game series.
The Explorers will be off over the weekend and get ready for game one Monday night, September 11 with the first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. against the Kansas City Monarchs. Tickets for the postseason can be purchased online at XSBaseball.com, 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 aabaseball.tv and on radio at KSCJ 94.9 FM and 1360 AM with the pregame beginning 30 minutes prior to first pitch.