WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (54-35) beat the Sioux City Explorers 5-3 at Shaw Park on Wednesday night.
Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the third, Mason Katz and Casey Turgeon opened the inning with consecutive singles. Andrew Sohn then worked an 11-pitch walk to load the bases with no outs. During the at bat, Sohn fouled off five straight full count pitches with the runners in motion. David Rohm singled through the right side to score Katz and pull the Goldeyes within 2-1. Josh Romanski followed with a line drive single to left that plated Turgeon and Sohn to put the Goldeyes ahead for the remainder of the night.
“It was a well-played game by both teams,” said Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney. “I thought we pitched really well and defended the field well. You never know with slick conditions. We had some timely hitting, and got a big two-out double from Casey Turgeon to separate ourselves.”
Goldeyes’ starting pitcher Kevin McGovern (11-3) earned the win, allowing two earned runs on just four hits over seven innings. McGovern walked four and struck out four.
Rohm blasted a solo home run to left-centre with one out in the bottom of the fifth. The Goldeyes stretched the lead to 5-2 in the sixth when Turgeon doubled home Wes Darvill from first base with two outs.
The Explorers loaded the bases with two outs in the eight when Victor Capellan struck out Eudor Garcia looking to strand the tying runs on base.
In the top of the ninth, the Explorers scratched out a run on a Jayce Ray sacrifice fly before Ryan Chaffee struck out Tyler Ogle with the tying runs on base to end the game. Chaffee earned his 20th save of the year, and became just the third pitcher in Goldeyes’ history to record 20 saves in one season.
McGovern worked around a first and second jam with no outs in the top of the first. After Ray sacrificed runners to second and third, McGovern struck out Ogle swinging. Nate Samson was intentionally walked, and McGovern stranded the bases loaded with a strikeout of LeVon Washington.
“Sioux City does a good job of putting the ball in play, and they run hard down the lines,” said Forney. “They made some pitches to keep them in the game, and as a starting pitcher, you have to be able to pitch through some traffic. Same thing if you’re going to be an eighth- or ninth-inning guy. It’s not always going to be a one-two-three inning.”
Michael Lang and Ray hit back-to-back RBI singles in the top of the third to give the Explorers a brief 2-0 lead.
After Garcia drew a leadoff walk in the top of the seventh, McGovern made a key defensive play on a bunt attempt by Tanner Vavra. Vavra bunted the ball between the mound and first base, and after chasing down the ball on a wet infield, McGovern managed to shovel the ball with his glove into the mitt of Shawn Pleffner at first for the out.
Kramer Sneed (5-4) started for the Explorers and took the loss, allowing five earned runs on eight hits in five and two-thirds innings. Sneed walked three and struck out five.
Oscar Montero holds the Goldeyes’ single-season record with 22 saves in 2004. Steve Thomas earned 20 saves in 2001. Rohm, Romanski, and Turgeon each finished with two hits. Katz was celebrating his 27th birthday.
The series concludes Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. Mikey O’Brien (9-4, 4.77) faces right-hander Keith Picht (2-3, 3.80). 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