The Lincoln Saltdogs let a lead slip away late Tuesday night, losing 8-5 in their first-ever trip to Wichita. Lincoln led 4-3 going into the bottom of the eighth, but the Wingnuts scored five in the frame to steal the first game of the series.
With one out in the eighth, Wichita drew back-to-back walks, bringing Heath Keel to the plate. Keel took a 3-2 pitch from Vince Davis (1-2) out over the left field wall, giving the Wingnuts a 6-4 lead. Carter McQuigg and Blake Gailen would add RBI hits to complete the five-run frame.
Until the eighth inning, the story of the night was the wild Wichita pitching staff. Starter Ronnie Ball combined with relievers Demetri White and Doug Hurn (1-1) to walk eight Lincoln batters and hit two others. The Saltdogs were unable to take advantage for the most part, however, as they left the bases loaded in both the third and fourth innings.
The Wingnuts scored a run in the first inning, but Lincoln tied the game in the third inning on a solo homer by Shawn McGill, his first blast of the season. Ball would go on to walk four batters in the inning, plating a second Saltdogs run when he gave a free pass to Eduardo Rios. The Wingnuts tied it at two in the fourth inning, but Dustin Yount cracked a two-out, two-run double in the top of the sixth to put Lincoln ahead 4-2. Yount would add a solo home run leading off the ninth to set the final margin.
The Wichita rally ruined a strong outing by Lincoln starter Josh Kauten, who pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits while striking out three. At the plate, Yount finished 2-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored, while McGill went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Corey Harrington had a perfect night at the dish, recording a hit, a walk and two sacrifices while stealing two bases.
The Saltdogs and Wingnuts play game two of their three-game series Wednesday night at 7:05. Righty Ryan Dittfurth is scheduled to make the start for Lincoln, while right-hander Justin Young is expected to take the mound for Wichita.
The Saltdogs’ next homestand of the season begins on June 17th. For team and ticket information, go to www.saltdogs.com.