Sioux City Explorers 5/17/12
SIOUX FALLS -- A rough inning marred an otherwise positive season opener for the Sioux Falls Pheasants, who fell to the Sioux City Explorers, 7-3, on Thursday night before a crowd of 2,623 at Sioux Falls Stadium.
A five-run third inning for Sioux City overtook the Pheasants, who struck first in the second inning on Jared Bolden’s solo home run. Sioux City designated hitter Tyler Goodro wrapped a three-run double, and RBI doubles by Kris Sanchez and Michael Lang gave the Explorers a 5-1 lead.
Pheasants starter Mark Michael (0-1) suffered the loss after falling behind batters in the third inning. He lasted through the fourth but allowed six runs on seven hits.
“The key has been to keep the fastball down and staying ahead in the count, but it didn’t finish that way in the third,” said Pheasants pitching coach Mike Meyer.
The Pheasants bats were far from quiet, but a strong wind blowing in from right field kept balls in the park.
“We had a couple that just hit the wind and got under it a little too much, but it’s one of those things, we have to keep getting having good at-bat after good at-bat and good things will happen for us,” Meyer said.
The Pheasants still showed some power. Al Quintana contributed a solo home run to left field in the fifth, shaving the Sioux City lead to 7-2, and Mark Shorey lined an RBI double to left to score Joe Anthonsen in the eighth.
The Pheasants bullpen debuted Matthew Sommo and Kyle Mertins, who were both sharp. Sommo, a true rookie making his professional debut, tossed three innings, allowing just one run, and Mertins pitched a perfect eighth and ninth with three strikeouts.
Nick Schumacher (1-0) earned the victory with seven innings pitched, allowing two runs on five hits with four strikeouts.
Game two of the four-game series is at 7:05 p.m. on Friday, May 18, at Sioux Falls Stadium. A Friday Night Fireworks show follows the game, sponsored by Sanford Health.
- Sioux Falls lost for the first time on Opening Day since 2005.
- The attendance of 2,623 was just 10 shy of the season's highest attended game last year on August 12, 2011.
- Both clubs begin their 20th anniversary seasons tonight. They were both charter members of the independent Northern League in 1993, which launched modern independent baseball in the U.S. Both teams moved to the American Association in 2005. The Northern League is now defunct.