ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Sioux City Explorers played in their final exhibition game Tuesday when they took on the St. Paul Saints at CHS Field and came away with the 3-1 victory.
Sioux City got off on a quick start in the top of the first inning as last season's American Association Player of the Year Jose Sermo drove in Daytona Bryden, who worked a game-opening walk and stole second base, with a two-run home run. Last season Sermo was the first Explorer to put together a 20/20 season and the first player in the Steve Montgomery era to hit more than 20 home runs in a campaign.
Eric Karch got the start for the Explorers this as he changes his role from closer to starter in 2019. Karch pitched well through four innings of work in his last tune-up of the spring. He allowed just a single run on two hits and struck out one.
The Saints lone run of the game came when Jeremy Martinez drew a leadoff walk. He went from first to third on a base hit and come home on a sacrifice fly by Dan Motl to make it 2-1 X’s.
The Sioux City bullpen was lights out the rest of the way. Tyler Fallwell added two scoreless innings of relief out of the pen for the X’s while punching out two. Matt Pobereyko pitched for a second consecutive day, tossing a perfect inning with another strikeout. Anthony Bender had a perfect eighth with a pair of punch outs and Nathan Gercken earned the save by finishing the ball game with a scoreless ninth with a pair of strikeouts. In total the bullpen put together five scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and two walks and six punch outs.
The X’s tacked on to their lead in the ninth. Michael Lang hit an infield double, a slow roller up the third base line that hugged the chalk and stayed fair. Lang took advantage of the Saints watching the slow roller and took second base with no one covering the bag. Bryden then beat out an infield single and both runners advanced. A wild pitch scored the speedy Lang and to make it 3-1 Sioux City.
The Explorers finished the exhibition schedule with a 4-2 record after splitting the two-game series with the St. Paul Saints. Sioux City now turns their attention to Thursday night and opening day against the Lincoln Saltdogs. First pitch of the 2019 regular season is set for 7:12 pm from MercyOne Field at Lewis and Clark Park.