SIOUX CITY EXPLORERS PRESS RELEASE
September 4, 2023
Dan Vaughan Jr.
X’S END REGULAR SEASON WITH A LOSS
PEN GIVES UP A 3-0 LEAD
CHICAGO – The Sioux City Explorers (52-48) offense returned to the recent form Monday in Chicago, grabbing a 3-0 lead and pounding out 10 hits, but the usually solid bullpen cratered, giving up 10 runs as the Chicago Dogs (55-41) took the final game of the season 10-3 at Impact Field.
Braunny Munoz tossed four scoreless innings as the Explorers raced to a 3-0 lead. The X’s scored a run in each of the first three innings, but they never seemed to really get the big hit to blow the game open. Daniel Lingua walked to start the game and was followed by Matt Lloyd who singled to put two runners on. John Nogowski hit a deep fly to the center field warning track to move Lingua to third. Vince Fernandez drove in his team-leading 62nd run of the season with a sac fly to right off Dogs starter Austin Faith to score Lingua for a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the second, Jake Ortega would double and move to third on a single from Delvin Zinn. A passed ball on catcher Ben Livorsi scored Ortega for a 2-0 lead. The X’s would follow with a pair of strikeouts to end the inning with Zinn at second.
The third looked like it might be the elusive big inning as the X’s started with a lead-off double from Lloyd. Nogowski would single Lloyd home for a 3-0 advantage. Fernandez singled, and runners were at first and second. Nogowski was caught stealing third, and Tyler Rando would line out to second, but Kyle Kasser was robbed at first by the slick glove of Dylan Rosa to keep the game at 3-0.
The Explorers would get back-to-back singles in the fifth from Lloyd and Nogowski but then go in order as reliever D.J. Snelten shut down Sioux City. From there the bats were never a factor as Chicago went to work. Munoz allowed just one hit with two walks and two strikeouts for Sioux City as he turned it over to Max Kuhns. The right-hander walked the first batter Rosa and surrendered a double to Cody Bohanek to put runners at first and second. Kuhns then walked Livorsi to load the bases. Brennen Metzger walked with the bases loaded to bring the first run home. Jesus Lujano was hit by a pitch to score the second run, and the tying run came home on a wild pitch.
With the game tied, the sixth inning was all Chicago. Carlos Diaz (1-4) was summoned into the game to keep the game even at three. The lefty gave up a single to Rosa then struck out Bohanek as he looked to settle down in the inning. Diaz got a ground ball, but the X’s failed to turn a double play with one out and a runner at first as the relay to first was late. The Dogs then picked up a single from Livorsi to put two on with two outs. Four straight hits would doom Diaz and the X’s. Metzger doubled to score one run, and Lujano drove in another to make it 5-3, but he would race to third on a throwing error from Lloyd that moved him all the way around also scoring Metzger. With the game now 6-3 Chicago, the Dogs picked up another pair of hits from Payton Eeles and Ryan Lidge plating two more runs, and it was 8-3 Dogs.
The final pair of runs came in the bottom of the eighth as Metzger drove in his third run of the day and Lujano hit a solo home run to left both off Brandon Brosher to make it 10-3. The Dogs got a shutdown bullpen effort from Snelten and Trevor Lane, who combined to hold the X’s scoreless over the last five innings. Snelten would strike out five while Lane added two in his effort.
The Explorers end the season on a three-game losing streak after taking the first two games of the series in Chicago. The club did finish the final trip going 4-4 and will head into the postseason facing the red-hot Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks who have won eight of their last 10 games. Sioux City headed immediately after the game to Fargo and will be off on Tuesday before the two teams meet Wednesday night.
The Explorers begin their playoff run Wednesday night, September 6 against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks at Newman Outdoor Field in Fargo at 6:30 p.m. Game two and three (if necessary) are scheduled for Friday, September 8 at 7:05 p.m. and Saturday, September 9 at 6:00 p.m. at Lewis and Clark Park. 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.