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Explorers Shutout for Second Time this Trip


St. Paul, MN - St. Paul proved once again why their infield is one of the best defensive units in the American Association as they lead the way to a 2-0 Saints victory over the Explorers on Saturday night. 

It was your classic pitchers duel between the two long time rivals, as Spencer Jones (1-0) made his season debut for the Saints and fourth ever professional start, carried the shut out the first five and a third innings, allowing only two hits and a walk while striking out four. 

However Eric Karch (0-2) the former closer, making his second start of the year was arguably just as good. He took the tough luck loss going six and a third, allowing two runs on two hits, while striking out four. 

Max Murphy would get to Karch in the third inning, going the opposite way for a solo home run his third of the year to put the Saints up 1-0. 

St. Paul would double their lead in the fifth after Joey Wong lead off with a double he would be moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt. After an intentional walk of Murphy to set up the possible inning ending double play it seemed as though the X’s plan would work. Chesney Young hit a ground ball to third, Sermo threw the ball cleanly to second, looking for an around the horn inning ending double play but Nelson Ward was unable to get the ball out of his glove and did not make a throw to first base, allowing Wong to score. 

Sioux City threatened to score in the sixth when Daytona Bryden doubled with one out. With Michael Lang at the plate Bryden took off for third, Lang grounded one through the hole that was created with Chesney Young going to cover the bag on the steal. Bryden rounded third and took off for home but short stop Joey Wong was able to cut off the hit in shallow left field and threw a strike to the plate cutting down Bryden at home and keeping the X’s off the scoreboard. 

The ninth inning is when the Explorers made their last ditch effort to tie the game but again the Saints infield kept them from that. Lang was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Samson singled. After a pop out, a walk and a strikeout the X’s had the bases loaded with two outs trailing by two runs. Nelson Ward turned on a Todd Van Steensel pitch and had what for a moment looked like the game tying hit. But Devon Rodriguez made a diving play at first base snatching the line drive and ending the game. 

The Explorers will try to avoid the sweep on Sunday evening in game three of the series with first pitch at 5:-05 pm and Taylor Jordan on the mound for Sioux City against Eddie Medina for St. Paul.