WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (29-23) beat the Sioux City Explorers 12-0 at Shaw Park on Thursday night.
The Goldeyes have won 10 of their last 13 games, and outscored the Explorers 37-4 in a sweep of the three-game series. With St. Paul’s loss versus Sioux Falls, the Goldeyes pull within 1.0 game of first place in the American Association North Division.
“Got a really good start from Kevin,” said Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney. “We’re a pretty good offensive team in the first this year. It’s an area we’re strong in for some reason. They made a mistake in the middle of the plate with Bergin, and Kevin and the offence took it from there. We’re swinging the bat really well, but the big thing is that we got really good starting pitching from this series. Everyone is attacking the zone early and expanding it when we get ahead.”
Behind in the count 1-2, Andrew Sohn led off the bottom of the first with a sharp groundball single to centre. Sohn stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Explorers’ catcher Daniel Jackson. David Rohm then hit a popup behind first that was carried from foul territory into fair territory before falling out of the reach of first baseman Dre Gleason. Sohn scored, and Rohm took second on the double which extended his hitting streak to 11 games. After Reggie Abercrombie ripped a line drive single to left, Shawn Pleffner walked to load the bases. David Bergin crushed a grand slam home run to left that extended the lead to 5-0. The home run stretched Bergin’s career-high hitting streak to 16 games, and was the Goldeyes’ first grand slam of the season. Two batters later, Mason Katz slugged a long solo home run down the left field line.
Goldeyes’ starting pitcher Kevin McGovern protected the lead throughout the night. McGovern (7-2) earned the win with seven shutout innings on just three hits. McGovern walked two, struck out seven, and finished his seven innings on just 90 pitches.
The Goldeyes threw up another crooked number in the third, scoring five runs with the help of three more homers. Abercrombie opened the inning with a solo shot to left-centre that reached the trees on Waterfront Boulevard. It was Abercrombie’s 21st home run and 60th RBI in 62 career games against Sioux City. Two batters later, Bergin drew a walk and advanced to second when Wes Darvill singled down the left field line. Katz followed with his second homer of the night, a three-run shot to left that made it 10-0. Sohn hit a line drive, solo home run to left for the Goldeyes’ 11th run.
“McGovern threw great,” said Katz. “Lineup hit well throughout. Bergin with the dagger early with the grand slam, and we just tacked on after that. I’m starting to feel a bit better. It certainly helps when the whole lineup is hitting. We have a potent lineup, and I’ve been struggling a bit, so it was nice to put it together and complete the lineup.”
Josh Romanski drove in the Goldeyes final run with a two-out, RBI infield single in the bottom of the sixth. Romanski finished with three hits for a second consecutive night and has hit safely in eight games in a row.
Evan Rutckyj and Kenny Mathews each pitched a scoreless inning in relief of McGovern. It was the Goldeyes’ sixth team shutout of the season, and the third in which McGovern was the starting pitcher. With the six-run first inning, the Goldeyes have now outscored the opposition 61-12 in the first inning this season. Prior to Bergin, the Goldeyes’ last grand slam came exactly one year ago against the same club. Adam Heisler hit a grand slam home run in a 17-3 win against Sioux City at Shaw Park on July 13th, 2016.
Kramer Sneed (2-2) started and took the loss for the Explorers. Sneed allowed 12 earned runs on 13 hits in five and two-thirds innings. Sneed walked two and struck out three.
The Goldeyes open a three-game series against the Kansas City T-Bones at Shaw Park on Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Zach Nuding (2-6, 6.34) faces right-hander Calvin Drummond (3-1, 4.28).
Tickets for all Goldeyes’ home games are on sale now by calling 1-855-GOLDEYE, visiting www.ticketmaster.ca/goldeyes, or visiting any Ticketmaster location, including the box office at Shaw Park.
For information on Winnipeg Goldeyes’ season tickets, 10-game mini packs, and group outings, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-BASE or visit the Goldeyes’ official website at www.goldeyes.com