By Tim Costello
The AirHogs looked like they could be back to their winning ways early Monday night, thanks to a 1st inning 3 run homerun off the bat of Stewart Ijames. Unfortunately starting pitcher Kevin Hilton could not hold the lead as the AirHogs drop the series finale to the Explorers 7-5.
The AirHogs bats came ready to play tonight, putting up 5 runs on 9 hits. Ijames hit his 9th home run of the season and Javion Randle added two hits, including a 2 out RBI triple. Unfortunately the AirHogs All-Star Kevin Hilton just did not have his best stuff. He worked just 4.1 innings tonight, allowing all 7 runs.
The bullpen for the AirHogs however was flawless tonight. Pete Perez, Carlos Contreras, Brett Eibner, and Tyler Matzek combined to throw 4.2 innings of shutout baseball, giving the AirHogs a chance to come back late and win it. Tyler Matzek was particularly impressive, striking out the side in the ninth inning. Matzek has not allowed a run in his last 8 outings, pitching 10 innings and striking out 23 batters.
The AirHogs were able to get to Sioux City starter Eric Karch tallying 5 runs against the Explorers starter in just 5.1 IP, but the bullpen for Sioux City did the job tonight. They pitched 3.2 innings of scoreless baseball.
The AirHogs look to begin a new streak as they prepare for the Sioux Falls Canaries to fly into town, first pitch scheduled for 7:05 P.M. The AirHogs starter is Erik Manoah. The Canaries starter is to be determined.
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