Close Game Turns Blowout as X's Win
Fargo, ND - The Sioux City Explorers went into the ninth inning with a 7-5 lead of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks and finished it off with a 12 run ninth inning to win game two of the series by a final score of 19-5.
The Explorers took the lead in the second inning as the X's ended up leading wire to wire in the ball game. Back to back walks allowed Jose Sermo and Dean Green to reach. Blake Schmit then brought home Sermo with a single to make it 1-0 Sioux City.
In the fourth the X's would put together a rally to expand their lead. A trio of singles loaded the bases with no one out. Schmit then grounded into a fielders choice. Dylan Kelly then brought home a run with a sacrifice fly to give the X's a 2-0 cushion. Then with two outs in the frame Dexture McCall smashed a double to center field to score two more runs and he would be chased home by a Luis Durango single and the X's were in front 5-0.
Jose Sermo hit his 17th home run of the year on a solo shot to right field to make it 6-0 Sioux City in the top of the fifth.
That would be enough for Sioux City starter Ian McKinney who was able to increase his scoreless streak to 18 innings. McKinney (2-2) got the win as he went 5 innings, allowing 2 un earned runs, on 4 hits, with 6 strikeouts and 5 walks. McKinney has now not allowed an earned run in his last three starts and 18.2 innings of work.
Fargo would score in the fifth as Metzger singled to lead off the inning, and Maikol Gonzalez reached on a walk. A sacrifice fly to center field by Leo Pina scored Metzger and a wild pitch would bring home Gonzalez and cut the X's lead down to 6-2.
In the sixth Fargo would cut into the Explorers lead again as Ryan Flores took over on the mound. He struck out the first two batters with no issue but would walk the next consecutive two RedHawks to come up. Gonzalez then doubled in a run and Tim Colwell scored one with a single and the RedHawks cut the score to 6-4 Sioux City as Fargo scored 4 unanswered runs.
The X's would take advantage of a pair of Fargo mistakes in the eighth. Jay Baum reached on a throwing error by the third baseman Pina and made it to second base. Blake Schmit then hit a grounder to third that went under the glove of Pina and Baum scored and Sioux City took a 7-4 lead.
Fargo answered back in the eighth with two outs in the inning again. Brennan Metzger reached on a walk. Gonzalez hit a single to right field, Metzger attempted to go first to third on the play and Michael Lang attempted to throw Metzger out at third but the ball got away and rolled into the RedHawks dugout and Metzger scored and at the end of eight innings it was a 7-5 X's lead.
It was a close game going into the ninth and the X's were looking for some extra insurance runs and got more than anyone would have imagined. The Explorers ended up scoring 12 runs on 7 hits. They loaded the bases three separate times. Dean Green picked up 2 RBI's on a single. Dylan Kelly with a 2-run single as well and Jose Sermo capped off the inning with a grand slam. His second home run of the game, his 18th of the year and his 6th RBI of the game. It was Sermo's second grand slam of the season and the third this year for Sioux City. It made the final score 19-5.
The 12 run inning by the X's set a franchise record and tied a league record for most runs scored in a single inning. Tying the St. Paul Saints from a game back on July 28th, 2007.
Sioux City with the win over Fargo has now moved their magic number for a playoff berth down to 2. Meaning that if Sioux City defeats Fargo on Thursday, and Winnipeg beats Wichita on Thursday then the Sioux City Explorers will wrap up a 2018 playoff spot. Their division magic number moved down to 5.
The Explorers will take on Fargo-Moorhead in the rubber game of the series on Thursday evening with first pitch at 7:02. The RedHawks will send out Brandon Barker a right hander, and Justin Vernia will take the hill for the Explorers.
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