Cristian Guerrero’s two-out, three-run home run in the first inning set the tone for the Sioux Falls Pheasants’ 7-3 win over the Sioux City Explorers on Friday night at Lewis and Clark Park in Sioux City. The Pheasants have won two in a row and improved to 27-25.
With two outs and nobody on, Jared Bolden reached on an infield single, and Cesar Nicolas blooped a single to center to set the table for Guerrero’s league-leading 14th dinger of the year.
Joe Anthonsen also provided two-out, clutch hitting with a two-run single in the second for a 5-0 advantage.
Mitchell Clegg (4-3) was the latest Pheasants starter to be backed by sparkling defense. The Pheasants’ infield turned two double plays, and third baseman Cesar Nicolas made a running catch in foul territory and a back-handed, diving stop in the second inning to save a run-scoring, extra-base hit.
Sioux City managed only one run in the third inning despite loading the bases with nobody out. The Xs loaded the bases in three different innings and left them loaded each time, stranding a season-worst 15 men on base. They did collect two runs in the fifth in with the bases loaded on a hit batter and an RBI single.
Clegg pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on 10 hits. He also struck out two, but got into trouble with three walks.
Jonny Kaplan added one run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh and a pair of Sioux City errors allowed to Guerrero scoring in the 8th inning to make the lead 7-3.
Five Pheasants’ relievers – Dusty Gober, Jack Van Leur, Dan Cooper, Kyle Mertins and Cody Evans -- combined to shut the Explorers over the last 3 2/3 innings, allowing just one hit.
Alain Quijano (2-4) suffered the loss for the Explorers. He hurled six-plus innings, allowing six runs on five hits. He did not strike anybody out and walked four.
Guerrero and Bolden were the only Pheasants to have multi-hit performances. Guerrero went 2-for-3 with the home run, and Bolden was 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Game three of the four-game series is at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday, July 14, in Sioux City. The game will be broadcast on Sioux Falls Sports Radio 1230-AM KWSN and www.kwsn.com.
Notes: Rookie Nick Judkins collected his first professional hit.
Courtesy: Scott Beatty, SF Pheasants