LINCOLN – Sioux City equaled its season-high of 18 hits and posted a 9-4 American Association baseball victory over Lincoln Sunday afternoon at Haymarket Park.
The Explorers, taking two of three in the series with the first-place Saltdogs, reached double digits in hits for the fourth straight game and matched their previous high of 18 against St. Paul in a 9-8 win on July 28.
Sioux City, which has won three of four since snapping its franchise-record 10 game losing streak, returns to Lewis & Clark Park Monday to open a four-game series against Kansas City. Six of the final eight games of the regular season will be played at home.
LeVon Washington went 4-for-5 in the game while Tony Campana and Michael Lang each tallied three hits for an Explorers club that scored in six of the nine innings, one game after a six-run second was enough to hold on for a 6-4 victory.
Sioux City (42-50) took advantage of nine walks from three Lincoln pitchers which led to leaving 15 runners on base, also equaling a season-high.
The Explorers jumped on Lincoln starter Dimitri Kourtis with single runs in the first and second innings getting an RBI double from Jayce Ray in the first and a solo homer from Daniel Jackson, his first, in the second.
Tanner Vavra and Lang produced RBI singles in the fourth to push the lead to 4-0 while Kourtis allowed seven earned runs on 12 hits over five innings.
Sioux City starter Cody Forsythe, in contrast, was solid in his six innings of work, yielding only one earned run on three hits, improving to 5-8 on the season.
Jackson drove in his second run of the game with a single in the fifth while a two-run sixth saw Tyler Ogle get hit with the bases loaded prior to Washington’s RBI single.
The Explorers pushed the lead to 9-1 with a two-run eighth as Eudor Garcia hit an RBI double while a double play ball allowed Nate Samson to score from third.
Lincoln manager Bobby Brown was ejected in the fourth inning on Sunday, one day after Joe Robbins got the heave in the fourth inning on Saturday.
Rookie Justin Vernia shook off a three-run first inning and pitched into the eighth inning to get the win in Saturday's contest.
The former Gonzaga University product was making his fifth start of the year and gave up three runs in the first inning which was capped by Curt Smith's two-run home run for the Saltdogs.
Sioux City shrugged off the fast Lincoln start and batted around to score six runs in the second inning. Tyler Ogle got a solo home run to lead off the rally and Dre Gleason added a bases-loaded single to score two and give the X's a 6-3 edge.
With the lead, Vernia pitched efficiently the rest of the way, giving up just one more run on a fielder's choice grounder in the second inning to pull Lincoln within 6-4.
Vernia left with two out and two on in the eighth inning in favor of Ryan Flores who got a ground out to end the threat. Flores pitched a perfect ninth inning to register his first save of the year.