Bullpen Carries X's to Victory
Cleburne, TX - After Sioux City starter Keith Picht only lasted three innings the bullpen came in and held the Railroaders scoreless in the final six innings to lead the way to an Explorers 5-2 win.
Cleburne jumped out to an early first inning lead when lead off man KC Huth singled and then stole second. He advanced to third on an Angelo Gumbs single and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Patrick Palmeiro to make it 1-0 Railroaders.
The X's though were quick to respond in the top of the second. Jose Sermo got on with a one out walk, and was then followed by a Dexture McCall base hit. Jay Baum followed him with a double to the right field wall to score Sermo and tie the game 1-1. But Dylan Kelly grounded out to second and brought home McCall to give the X's the 2-1 lead and then Daniel Jackson hit his first of four base hits to drive in Baum and give the X's a 3-1 lead. The bottom third of the order for the Explorers all collected RBI's in the inning.
Cleburne would counter with a Patrick Palmeiro solo home run in the third inning. Though that would be the last inning for X's starter Keith Picht. He ended up going 3 innings, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits, striking out 4 and walking only 1.
Eric Karch would take over for the X's in what turn out to be 6 shut out innings from the Sioux City bullpen. Karch (2-0) would earn the win by going 2.2 shut out innings, allowing only 1 hit, striking out 4 and walking 3.
The X's would tack on another two runs in the fifth when Daniel Jackson lead off with a base hit and Michael Lang was then hit by a pitch. Nate Samson would come to the plate with two outs and hit a line drive to right field to score Jackson from third. Though the throw to the plate would get away from the Cleburne catcher resulting in an error and allowing Lang to score on the play as well. The throw to the plate in an attempt to get Lang would bounce off of his helmet and roll away, Samson then attempted to score on the play but was thrown out at home resulting in the third out that went 9-2-1-3 on the put out. The X's though would take a 5-2 lead.
Karch would depart in the sixth inning with two outs and runners at first and second, Ryan Flores then took over for him. Flores struck out the final batter in the sixth and then would throw another two scoreless innings. Flores was wildly effective in his outing as he struck out 2 but walked 4.
Flores started the ninth inning for Sioux City but after walking the lead off batter he would give way to Tyler Fallwell. Fallwell (1) earned the save for the Explorers by striking out all three batters he faced in the ninth inning.
The Railroaders ended up stranding 11 baserunners in the game with 4 of those being in scoring position. And the Explorers bullpen since imploding two straight nights against the Kansas City T-Bones has righted the ship allowing only 3 runs in 19 innings.
The Explorers and Railroaders will play game two of the three game series on Tuesday with first pitch scheduled for 7:06.
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