X's Bats Go Cold as Lincoln Evens Series
Sioux City, IA - On a blustery night in Siouxland former major leaguer Nick Tepesch spun six innings of shut out baseball and the Explorers comeback bid fell short as Lincoln evens up the four game series halfway through as the X's fall 4-1.
Both pitchers cruised through the first three frames as Max Duval made his Explorers debut. The Saltdogs were able to break through against Duval in the fourth inning. It began with Tyler Moore leading off the frame with a double, as he has put together consecutive three hit games to begin the season. A base hit by Curt Smith put runners on the corners. A ground ball by Cody Regis brought home Moore and a sacrifice fly from rookie Noah Cummings brought home Curt Smith to make it 2-0 Lincoln.
The Saltdogs would double that lead their next time to the plate. This time put into motion by a one out double by Christian Ibarra followed by a base hit from Moore. Ibarra would come around to touch the plate on a sacrifice fly from Curt Smith and Moore would score on a wild pitch making it 4-0 Lincoln.
Duval (0-1) would take the loss despite having a good debut for the X's. He went 6 innings, allowing the 4 runs on 8 hits, walked just 1 and struck out 5. Duval was able to induce plenty of swinging strikes, but simply ran into trouble in those back to back innings and was out dueled by Lincoln starter Nick Tepesch.
Tepesch (1-0) was in control of the ballgame. He went 6 scoreless frames, allowed only 3 base hits, walked 2 and punched out 4. It took him 80 pitches to navigate six innings and at one point retired 13 straight Explorer batters.
Once the bullpen came in though it was a different ball game. The X's had a base runner in the final three frames of the ball game. The Saltdogs 'pen walked the bases loaded in the seventh and then walked a run home for the X's lone run of the ball game.
The Explorers earned a walk off of every Saltdogs pitcher that entered the ball game and despite being held to just four hits, the X's totaled seven base on balls.
But it wasn't enough the Explorers could not get the big hits in crunch time that they had produced just a night ago. Colby Blueberg (1) earned his first save of the season by striking out the tying run at the plate in the ninth securing the Saltdogs victory.
The Explorers are now 1-1 on the season and despite it being just the second game of the year, they are at .500 a winning percentage they always stayed above during last seasons incredible 71 win campaign.
Sioux City and Lincoln will play game three of the series on Saturday as it will be Ricky Knapp going for Lincoln against Zach Jemiola on the bump, making his Explorers debut. First pitch is at 6:05 pm and free mini bats will be given away to the first 500 fans through the gates thanks to Dunes Dental 4 Kids.
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