Picht Leads X's to Win, Able to Avoid Sweep
Sioux City, IA - Trying to avoid being swept for the first time this year the Sioux City Explorers were able to defeat the St. Paul Saints by a score of 5-2.
Keith Picht lead the way for the Explorers in this one. Picht (4-2) got the win and picked up a quality start as he went 6 innings, allowing just a single run, scattering 7 hits and striking out 6 batters. Picht was able to build off his last start against St. Paul where he went 7 innings of one run ball back on June 25th. And Picht now twice against St. Paul has allowed just 2 runs in 13 innings while racking up 9 strike outs.
But St. Paul was able to get to him early as in the top of the second Zach Walters lead off the inning with a single, he would score on an RBI base knock by Anthony Phillips and make it 1-0 St. Paul. The Saints threatened to score more in the inning but Picht was able to get them to ground into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play.
Sioux City would give Picht some run support in the bottom of the fifth. All of the damage came though with two outs in the inning. Dylan Kelly came up with the bases empty and two outs and hit a pop up into shallow left field. But the Saints third baseman Dante Bichette got all turned around on the pop up twisting in the wind and was unable to make the play and Kelly was aboard with a single at first. Daniel Jackson followed with a base hit and then David Kerian brought home Kelly with an RBI single to tie the game. Luis Durango walked which loaded the bases for Michael Lang who would walk in a run to give Sioux City the lead. Jay Austin would score two with a base hit to left field and make it 4-1 Sioux City after the end of the fifth.
He X's tacked on another run in the seventh as Jackson walked with one out. After Kerian fanned, Durango came up with two outs. During his at bat Saints start Eddie Medina uncorked a wild pitch and allowed Jackson to get to second. Sioux City took the opportunity as Durango hit a single back up the middle scoring Jackson.
Medina (4-3) took the loss for St. Paul as he went 6.2 innings, allowing 5 runs on 7 hits walking and striking out 4.
Patrick Schuster pitched a perfect seventh inning, and Parker Markel came in for the eighth. The Saints tried to mount a comeback against Markel as they loaded the bases with no one out. Markel would get Bichette to strike out for the first out but walked Nathaniel Maggio to allow a run to score making it 5-2. But he would then strike out pinch hitter Matt Snyder and get Aaron Gretz to fly out to center to end the threat.
Eric Karch was called on for the ninth inning and racked up his 10th save as he struck out the side giving the X's the win.
With the win the Explorers were able to avoid being swept for the first time this season and the first time since August of the 2017 season against the Lincoln Saltdogs.
Sioux City (41-15) now travels to Lincoln for a quick three game weekend trip before returning home for the start of a seven game home stand. Sioux City will have Justin Vernia take the mound on Friday night against the Saltdogs as he will be opposed by south paw Kyle Kinman for the Saltdogs with first pitch set for 7:05.
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