The Sioux City Explorers split a doubleheader with the Kansas City Monarchs on Wednesday. The Explorers lost Game 1, 7-5, but they made history in a 9-7 victory with Blake Tiberi hitting for the cycle and Jose Sermo tying the single season team record for home runs in the nightcap.
Kansas City jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first of Game 1 on a pair of two out singles, one from Gabby Guerrero and another from Ibandel Isabel.
Sioux City wtied the game over the course of the next two innings, Lane Milligan homered to cut it in half 2-1. A bases loaded two out walk to Seamus Curran tied it up 2-2 in the third.
Kansas City took the lead for good during the bottom of the third. Casey Gillaspie and Colin Willis both hit two-out, two-run home runs to put the Monarchs up 6-2 immediately after the X’s had tied the game.
Patrick Ledet was tagged with the loss as he allowed six runs in four innings on seven hits with six strikeouts and a pair of walks.
Justin Shafer posted the quality start to gt the win, going six innings allowing two runs on four hits with five strikeouts and three walks.
After the Monarchs added a run in the bottom of the sixth, Jose Sermo made it a tighter looking contest in the seventh with a two-out, three-run homer.
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Sermo got right back to it in Game 2. His solo home run in the top of the first inning gave Sioux City an early 1-0 lead.
The homer by Sermo was his 27th of the season and tied him for the Sioux City Explorers single season team record that was originally set by Kevin Garner in 1997. Garner accomplished the feat in 74 games, for Sermo it took 75.
The X’s were not finished with the homer barrage in the top of the first as Lane Milligan homered as well to push the lead to 2-0. Milligan has now homered in three straight games.
Sioux City added a run in the second after Blake Tiberi began his historical night with a one out triple and scored on Chase Harris’ double making it 3-0.
Jake Matthys (7-3) was handed the loss as he only went an inning and a third allowing three runs on four hits with four strikeouts and no walks.
The Sioux City offense exploded in the third inning for five runs. Milligan continued his highly productive day with another hit and RBI. Tiberi collected his single while also driving in two with two outs in the inning and later scored on George Callil's two-run double, expanding the Sioux City lead all the way to 8-0.
The large lead was short lived. Kansas City scored five times in the immediate half inning. After back-to-back singles to start the frame, Daniel Wasinger homered making it 8-3. After a base hit and back-to-back errors to load the bases, Guerrero lined a two run single to center, trimming the lead to 8-5.
Max Kuhns entered the game in relief of starter Zach Hedges. Kuhns picked up his team leading seventh win of the year, as he tossed two innings of relief with four strikeouts and a walk.
He had pitched the first two innings scoreless, but much like Hedges, Kuhns ran into trouble in the third frame against the Monarchs. Willis homered for the second time during the doubleheader to pull Kansas City within one at 8-7.
The Monarchs then proceeded to load the bases with only one out in the inning, and the Explorers then turned to Brandon Brosher out of the bullpen. He was able to rescue them getting a strikeout and a line out to leave the bags full.
Tiberi, who doubled in the fifth, led off the top of the seventh with a solo home run to complete his cycle that he was able to accomplish in a seven inning game, and made it 9-7 Sioux City.
Brosher earned his first save of the season using a double play to end the game after back to back one out singles.
With the win Sioux City remains a game and a half back of the Cleburne Railroaders for the third playoff spot in the South Division.