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Cleburne Scores Eight First Inning Runs To Down X’s


Cleburne, TX - First innings have almost now become the bigger opponent for the X’s than the other team on the field. The Cleburne Railroaders used an eight run first inning to fuel their 9-1 victory over Sioux City in the series opener on Thursday night. 

The X’s had a chance in the top half of the first inning to bring a run or two home after back to back lead off walks. But two pop outs later, Drew Stankiewicz drove a fly ball to deep center field which Zach Nehrir raced down on the warning track to take away runs and extra bases. 

That set the table for the bottom half of the first inning which was the deciding inning of the game. Daniel Robertson singled to lead off the inning and back to back walks loaded the bases with no one out. John Nester began the scoring with a base hit to left. Carlos Sierra, Sioux City’s starter, would strike out Zach Nehrir to record an out and would get Ryan Brett into a two strike count. But Brett would single, as well as Trowbridge behind him to bring home runs and make it 3-0 Cleburne. A pop out put another out on the board but Sierra walked KC Huth with the bases loaded to allow a run to score. And Robertson hit his second single of the inning to drive home another two. Angel Reyes hit a fly ball to left that X’s left fielder Joel Davis could not locate at first and by the time he found it, tipped off of his glove for a two run error finishing the Cleburne eight run rally. 

Sioux City pitching has now allowed 77 first inning runs to their opponents which is by far the highest total for any inning this season and Sioux City is now 6-11 when their opponent scores multiple runs in the first inning as compared to 32-22 when their opponent is held scoreless in the first inning. 

Carlos Sierra (7-1) was handed his first loss as an Explorer with this blow up coming very surprisingly as he entered the ball game with an ERA of 2.89. It was his shortest start of the season, lasting only three innings, allowing nine runs, seven of which were earned, on six hits with three walks and just two strikeouts. 

Sioux City would gain a run back in the top of the second as Dexture McCall lead off with a walk. After back to back strikeouts Dylan Kelly and Kyle Wren both singled with Wren’s driving McCall home making it 8-1. But Ryan Brett slammed a home run over the left field fence in the bottom half of the frame to put the Railroaders back up by eight runs, 9-1.

From there the pitching took over. Stephen Johnson (8-1) earned the win as he once again dominated the X’s for a second straight start. He went seven innings of one run ball, surrendering five hits and four walks while striking out five. His last two starts have now come against Sioux City and he is 2-0, in 14 innings, allowing only two runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts.

A highlight for the X’s were the only two arms they had to use in relief. Juan Aguilera tossed four brilliant innings of shut out baseball, striking out four as he helped save the bullpen for another day, and new comer, Alex House tossed a perfect eighth inning taking care of Cleburne in quick order.

The X’s look to right the ship on Friday as right hander Eric Karch gets the ball for Sioux City. He will face Jesus Sanchez of the Railroaders, with first pitch at 7:06 pm from Cleburne.