08/16/2019 11:42 PM
CLEBURNE, Tex. (Aug. 16, 2019) – In a game that featured more walks and errors than hits, the Cleburne Railroaders found a way to scrap past the Sioux City Explorers 7-5 on Friday night at The Depot at Cleburne Station.
Each side took turns committing critical blunders, and command was an issue for both pitching staffs all evening long. Both sides committed three errors, with Sioux City handing out six walks and two hit by pitches and Cleburne walking five of their own. The result was a messy game that featured several big swings in momentum.
Sioux City (46-37) struck first on a two-run home run from Jeremy Hazelbaker, but the lead proved short-lived. With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Zach Nehrir sliced a two-run double down the right field line to knot the score at 2-2.
Cleburne (49-35) grabbed their first lead of the night two innings later on another two-run double, this one courtesy of John Nester. The extra base hit followed a crucial sequence earlier in the inning, when a potential double play grounder from Angel Reyes resulted in two errors on Sioux City third baseman Jose Sermo.
The Explorers sliced the lead to 4-3 in the sixth against Jesus Sanchez (9-3). After a leadoff single from Nate Samson, Cleburne had two opportunities for double plays that were not converted, and the latter ended in a Ryan Brett throwing error that gave the X’s runners at second and third with one out. Drew Stankiewicz plated a run with a grounder to short, but Dexture McCall grounded out to end the inning with the Railroaders still in front.
K.C. Huth got the run right back for the Railroaders in the bottom of the inning, lifting a sacrifice fly to score Nehrir, who earlier in the frame avoided the tag on a rundown to advance to third with one out.
Perhaps the biggest chance of the night came in the top of the seventh, when Sioux City loaded the bases on three walks from Cleburne newcomer Jared Wilson. On a 3-2 pitch, Wilson got Hazelbaker to ground out to first to preserve the 5-3 lead.
The Railroaders plated two big insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth. The relay throw to first on another potential double play ball from Nick Rotola was errant, allowing Nehrir to score, and two hitters later Daniel Robertson smacked a two-out RBI single to give Cleburne a 7-3 advantage.
Those runs would prove critical, as Sioux City rallied in the top of the ninth. D.J. Sharabi warmed up to start the inning, but was forced to leave the game with an apparent injury. Braden Pearson came on and gave up a double to Sebastian Zawada and a one-out RBI single to Kyle Wren that made it a 7-4 game. Tyler Wilson was summoned from the Cleburne bullpen, and promptly walked Hazelbaker to load the bases. Sermo drove in a run with a groundout to first that cut the lead to 7-5, and Drew Stankiewicz flew out to center to end the game and secure Wilson’s 20th save of the season.
Eric Karch (4-6) took the loss for the X’s, allowing five runs in 5.1 innings.
The Railroaders and Explorers conclude their series on Saturday night at 7:06 PM. Charlie Gillies (4-7, 3.83) goes for Cleburne, while Sioux City counters with righty Taylor Jordan (5-9, 4.63).
For information on partnerships, season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Railroaders main office at (817) 945-8705, or visit the Railroaders official website at www.railroaderbaseball.com.