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SIOUX CITY, IA – The Sioux City Explorers announced today that the club has signed RHP Max Duval and RHP Nate Gercken to 2019 American Association contracts. The 2019 season will mark Duval’s 6th season in professional baseball and Gercken’s 5th season in professional baseball.

Duval began his professional career at the Independent level after going undrafted out of the University of Hawaii, where he played mostly as a position player. Duval began to transition to becoming a pitcher in 2014 with the Schaumburg Boomers of the Frontier League. He would pitch in the Frontier League for three different teams before he was purchased by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2016. Duval would play at 4 different levels in the Diamondbacks organization during the 2016 season, going a combined 4-7 with a 3.42 ERA.

Duval began the 2017 season back in the Frontier League with the Evansville Otters where he put together his best season as a professional. The righty owned an 8-2 record with a 2.28 ERA in 87 innings pitched, accumulating 113 strikeouts to just 27 walks. For his efforts, Duval was named the 2017 Frontier League Pitcher of the Year and had his contract purchased by the Miami Marlins and spent the rest of the 2017 season pitching at the Single-A level where he continued to impress with a 4-0 record and a 2.09 ERA. Last season Duval pitched at the Double-A level for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp where he appeared in 24 games, including 16 starts, before being released by the Marlins following the season.

Gercken was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 17th round of the 2015 MLB Draft following a stellar career at the Academy of Art University (San Francisco, CA), where he set single season records during his senior year for ERA (2.90), strikeouts (79), opponent batting average (.206), shutouts (2), and innings pitched (96.1).

Gercken has enjoyed his best professional seasons pitching for the New Jersey Jackals of the Can-Am League in 2017 and 2018. Gercken led the team in appearances (43) in 2017, which included a stretch of 16 consecutive appearances without yielding a run. He finished the season with a 2-2 record and a 2.70 ERA. Last season, Gercken was just as impressive, posting a 2.08 ERA and a 2-2 record in 30 appearances.

In other team news, the Explorers announced that the club has acquired OF Tillman Pugh from the Sugar Land Skeeters (Atlantic League) in exchange for future considerations.

The Explorers 2019 home opener will be Thursday, May 16th versus the Lincoln Saltdogs in a 7:12pm contest. Get in the game with the Sioux City Explorers by reserving your 2019 season ticket packages, flex ticket packages, or company group outing now by calling 712-277-WINS (9467).