SIOUX CITY (Courtesy Sioux City Explorers) – The X’s offense which had been pretty quiet during the home stand was holding out till the series finale as the bats roared back to life to take down the Cleburne Railroaders 6-5 to avoid the sweep.
Cleburne once again scored first, as Hunter Clanin walked to lead off the second and advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch. He would immediately score on a base hit from Ryan Brett to make it 1-0 Cleburne.
Sioux City however had an immediate response. Jose Sermo doubled down the right field line and came around to score on a pair of ground balls tying the game.
The top of the third however was a wacky inning for both teams. It began with a lead off walk, and an infield single. Angel Reyes hit a bouncing ball to third that initially Sermo fielded cleanly, on his way to third to create the force out he got ahead of himself. He went to transfer the ball to his hand in anticipation of trying to turn the double play but fumbled the ball and was unable to retire anyone. Instead leaving the bases loaded for the Railroaders with no one out. Chase Simpson then walked to bring home a run and they went in front 2-1. Taylor Jordan the X’s starter was from there able to regroup and get out of the inning without any further runs.
Cleburne added another pair in the fifth. Daniel Robertson was hit by a pitch to begin the inning, and Angel Reyes scored him from first with a double to left. Zach Nehrir scored Simpson with a base hit up the middle to make it 4-1 Railroaders.
To that point of the game the X’s had just the one run on only two hits off of Jesus Sanchez who had been dominant for the Railroaders in his last seven starts. But it was the rookie Adam Sasser who got the X’s rolling again offensively. He crushed his first professional triple to center field and scored on a Sebastian Zawada single to make it 4-2. Kyle Wren then reached on an infield single to bring up Nate Samson with two on and one out. Samson hit a sinking line drive to left, Angel Reyes dove to attempt and make an incredible play but for the first time this series he was unable to do so and the ball rolled by him to the wall in left. Both Zawada and Wren scored on the Samson double, to tie the game up 4-4.
The X’s took their first lead of the series in the sixth. Sermo and Drew Stankiewicz lead off the inning with singles. Two outs later it was again Zawada who singled with two outs in the inning to put the X’s on top 5-4.
Taylor Jordan (5-9) earned the win as he tossed six innings, allowing four runs, three earned on six hits with four walks and strikeouts.
The X’s rally came at the expense of Jesus Sanchez (8-3) as Sanchez tossed six innings, allowing five runs, on nine hits with two strikeouts and no walks.
The X’s added an insurance run in the seventh, as Wren lead off the inning with a single to right field but it was misplayed by Hunter Clanin which allowed Wren to take two bases and end up at third to start off the frame. Nate Samson then hit a triple to left center field to score Wren and put the X’s up 6-4.
From there the Sioux City bullpen took it the rest of the way. Tyler Fallwell tossed an inning and two thirds and struck out four of the six batters he faced. Nate Gercken ended the eighth and Matt Pobereyko earned his 23rd save of the season despite giving up a home run to Reyes to make it the 6-5 final score.
Pobereyko’s 23rd save puts him second all time in X’s franchise history behind Brett Reid’s 24 (2008). Pobereyko will have 21 more games to attempt and pick up two saves to set the single season record.
Sioux City went 3-3 during the home stand taking two of three from the St. Paul Saints, but Cleburne taking two of three from the X’s. The win puts the Explorers two games out of first, behind the Railroaders and keeps them four games ahead of the T-Bones for the wild card spot.
Sioux City now hits the road for a five game, six day road trip that begins with Sioux Falls for a pair, a day off on Wednesday and then the Railroaders again for another three from Cleburne. The X’s take on the Canaries on Monday at the Bird Cage with first pitch set for 7:05 pm.