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X’s Take Series Lead and Win Away From Moving On


Kansas City, KS - Nate Samson and Jose Sermo provided all the offense the Sioux City Explorers would need and the bullpen was lights out as the X’s took a lead in the South Division Championship Series 2-1 with an 8-2 win over the Kansas City T-Bones on Saturday. 

The final score did not end up reflecting what was a close ball game for much of the night in what was for the first eight innings a nail biter. Sioux City took the first lead of the night when Jeremy Hazelbaker worked a walk and on the following pitch was immediately driven home by Jose Sermo with a double to left-center field scoring Hazelbaker from first. 

But from there the lead would go back and forth. Kansas City would take advantage of Sioux City mistakes in the second inning. Back to back walks opened up the frame. An error on a ground ball would load the bases with no one out. A ground ball to second base by Omar Carrizales would draw a throw home from Drew Stankiewicz, but the throw went wide of the plate allowing a run to score to tie the game 1-1. A sacrifice fly from Shawn O’Malley playing in his first playoff game would give Kansas City the lead. But Kansas City would have the bases loaded with one out and could not bring home another run. 

Sioux City would respond in the third as three straight singles would load the bases with no one out. Nate Samson grounded one to the left side that would score the tying run. And after an out Jose Sermo drove in a run with a base hit to right to give Sioux City a 3-2 lead that they would not give up. 

Another run was added in the fifth as Kyle Wren lead things off with a walk, and he would come around and score on a Sermo fielders choice as he beat out a double play ball putting the X’s up 4-2. 

What was hyped up to be a big time pitchers duel ended up not being the case. Neither starter picked up a quality start. Pete Tago for Sioux City went four and a third allowing two un earned runs on four hits, walking five and striking out six but would get a no decision. 

Tommy Collier (0-1) took the loss for Kansas City as he allowed four runs over five innings of work, with seven hits and four strikeouts with a pair of walks. 

The T-Bones had plenty of chances to drive home runs and tie the game or take the lead through out the ball game. They left a combined 10 men on base through the first five innings and 13 men total in the game. 

Sioux City’s bullpen from there kept the traffic on the base paths to a minimum. Tyler Fallwell (1-0) picked up the win as he tossed two and two-thirds innings scoreless allowing just one hit with a strikeout and a walk. He would get the X’s out of a bases loaded and one out jam in the fifth. 

Jose Velez would enter in the seventh with the tying runs at second and third and strike out O’Malley to get out of the inning. He would toss a scoreless eighth to send the X’s to the ninth with a 4-2 lead.

From there the Explorers added some insurance runs. Drew Stankiewicz would single before Samson crushed a TJ House pitch down the left field line that stayed fair to give the X’s a 6-2 lead. Sermo would then work a two out walk before Dexture McCall hit a ground rule double. Dylan Kelly then drove one into centerfield to bring home the two runs and extend the Sioux City lead to 8-2. 

Both Sermo and Samson had three hit games with three RBI’s and a run scored. They drove in six of the eight Sioux City runs 

Matt Pobereyko tossed a perfect ninth inning to finish off the X’s victory. 

Sioux City now is just a win away from taking the South Division Championship Series and moving on to the American Association Finals. They will attempt to do that on Sunday evening with first pitch at 5:05 pm from Kansas City. The Explorers will send right hander Taylor Jordan to the mound to take on righty Jon Perrin of the Kansas City T-Bones.