Explorers win weather-shortened game over Saltdogs

Explorers win weather-shortened game over Saltdogs
May 15th, 2024 | xsbaseball.com

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – With threatening skies, it was a race against the oncoming weather Wednesday night for the Sioux City Explorers and Lincoln Saltdogs at Lewis and Clark Park. It was a race and game that was won by the Explorers as they were able to get just enough offense and some solid pitching from Joey Murray in a 3-1 rain-shortened final in five innings.

Murray (1-1) would toss five solid innings, scattering four hits and surrendering one earned run to get the win for the X’s. Murray, a right-hander from Dublin, Ohio, gave up a hit in the first and hit a batter in the second but worked around both runners, then he would retire seven in a row as he would get into a groove in the second and third.

The Explorers would use two doubles and two singles in the home half of the third to take a 2-0 lead. Daniel Lingua would double off Lincoln starter Abdallah Aris (0-1) for the first Sioux City hit of the game. Nick Shumpert delivered and RBI single to score Lingua to make it 1-0 Explorers. Aris would catch Shumpert stealing 1-3-6 for the first out, and the Saltdogs hurler was able to force a ground out by John Nogowski to appear to be close to escaping the inning, trailing 1-0. The Explorers then got a two out double from Scott Ota who came home on a rookie Zac Vooletich RBI single to make it 2-0. Ota made a great slide around Lincoln catcher Max Hewitt who could not hold on to the throw from right fielder Zane Zurbrugg.

The rain would increase inning by inning as the game moved to the fourth frame. Murray would work around a one-out walk and single with a strike out and a ground out to keep Lincoln off the board. Sioux City would slosh to a lead-off double by Jake Ortega and a sac bunt by Delvin Zinn set the X’s up with a runner at third and one out. Lincoln moved the infield in and forced Lingua to ground into a fielder’s choice with Ortega thrown out at home for the second out of the inning, ending the scoring chance for Sioux City.

Lincoln would grab their only run in the top of the fifth off Murray on a two-out RBI single from Jake Dragum, scoring Dakota Conners to cut into the X’s lead of 2-1. Sioux City would answer as the lighting started to flash in the west and as the heavy rains approached. Nogowski would single while Ota reached on catcher’s interference. The runners moved up a step on Vooletich ground ball to first. With one out, Chase Harris lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to score Nogowski and give the Explorers the 3-1 lead as the rain increased.

The teams came out for the sixth and the X’s went to the pen calling on Evan Johnson. He would face one batter, walking Aaron Takacs, but the at bat and pitching appearance would not count as the umpires pulled the team off the field and the grounds crew covered the infield with the tarp as the hardest storm of the night dumped puddles all over the Lewis and Clark Park. That deluge would move the game from the rain delay to final as the 15 outs had occurred with the home team leading making the game official.

Box Score

The Explorers will be off on Thursday May 16 and begin a six-game road trip Friday night May 17 at Impact Field in Rosemont, Illinois against the Chicago Dogs with the game time set for 7:05 p.m.


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