(Courtesy Sioux City Explorers)
The Explorers avoided the sweep on Sunday afternoon against the Milwaukee Milkmen using a trio of home runs to power their way to a 7-5 victory.
The Explorer’s offense continued to put up good numbers on Sunday. The first hit of the day came off the bat of LT Tolbert who roped a lead off triple to right center. The X’s couldn’t push him across as the first inning came to an end.
In the second inning the Milkmen struck first. David Washington led off with a single, then was putout on a fielders choice the next at bat, leaving Milwaukee outfielder Trey Martin on. Martin stole second and then scored after shortstop Mason Davis doubled giving Milwaukee the lead 1-0.
Sioux City responded in the bottom half the inning starting with a Joseph Monge single. Lane Milligan, playing in right for the day, walked to give the X’s runners on first and second. Center fielder Chase Harris put a charge into one that cleared the fence in left center to give the X’s their first lead of the day, 3-1.
The scoreboard changed again in the top of the third as the Milkmen answered back. It started with back-to-back singles from the top of the Milkmen lineup in Vertigan and Trowbridge. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch and Vertigan scored on a ground ball cutting into the X’s lead making it 3-2. It would have been more if not for a diving catch from Lane Milligan that saved some potential runs.
Hedges kept it moving, shutting out the top half of the fourth, but Milwaukee’s starter David Holmberg didn’t have the same luck. The bottom half of the inning started with a double into left from Sebastian Zawada. Joseph Monge grounded to first to move Zawada to third which wouldn’t matter because Lane Milligan came up next ready to do some damage. An inning after saving runs with a diving catch in left, Milligan threw a couple on the board for the Explorers with a blast to dead center making the score 5-2.
Hedges day ended after facing three batters in the fifth. He struck out Trowbridge to start the inning, then ran into trouble giving up a single and hitting a batter. The 6’4” righty finished the day with a no decision giving up four runs on seven hits, striking out 1. After two games, Hedges ERA now stands at a strong 2.61.
Jose Velez took over after Hedges and ran into trouble right away. A wild pitch and an error contributed to a couple runs scoring for the Milkmen making the score 5-4. It was smooth sailing after that as Velez didn’t give up a run for the rest of his appearance. Velez’ day was over after the sixth. He finished giving up no runs and 1 hit over an inning and two thirds. The sixth inning marked the last for Milwaukee’s starter, Holmberg, as well who gave up five runs on six hits while striking out 7.
After taking a break in the sixth, the scoring resumed in the seventh. Max Kuhns (1-0), who received the win on the evening, started off strong striking out the first two batters he faced, but he couldn’t get by the reigning MVP, Adam Walker who hit a solo homer to tie the game at 5 going into the bottom of the seventh.
Kuhns blew through the first three batters he saw in the top of the eighth to finish his night. The winning pitcher had four strikeouts while giving up a hit and a run.
The highlight of the night came in the bottom of the eighth. With the score knotted up at 5, Jared Walker walked with one out. Former American Association MVP, Jose Sermo put the game away one swing as he hit a line drive home run to center making the score 7-5.
X’s closer Matt Pobereyko made his second appearance in as many days in the top of the ninth. The X’s single season save record holder got his first of the 2021 season as he put the Milkmen down in order finishing the game with a double play.
Sioux City now sits at 4-2 on the year after winning the series finale against Milwaukee. The X’s will get a day off on Monday and resume play at home on Tuesday at 7:05 when they open up a three game series with the Kansas City Monarchs.