LINCOLN, NE – Curt Smith was 3-3 with two home runs and a double and the Lincoln Saltdogs beat the Gary SouthShore RailCats 8-2 at Haymarket Park Friday night.
The win broke a three-game skid for the Saltdogs (23-17). It was the team’s 15th multi-home run game of the season. They have 20 more home runs than the next closest team in the league.
Eric Wooten earned the win for the Saltdogs in his first start of the season. The lefty went five innings and allowed just one run on six hits. Alex Gunn took the loss for the RailCats (21-18) by giving up six earned runs over seven innings.
Smith started things off in the first inning. After a Brandon Jacobs single, the Saltdogs’ DH belted a home run to left field. It was his second home run in a row, after blasting one in the eighth inning on Thursday night.
The RailCats answered in the second inning. Colin Willis started the frame with a double and scored on a sac fly from Alex Crosby to make it 2-1.
Lincoln kept the offense rolling in the next half inning. Dashenko Ricardo reached on an error and Chad Hinshaw followed with a double. Two batters later, Randolph Oduber sent both runners home with a single over the shortstop’s head.
The bottom part of the order generated more scores in the fourth. Hinshaw ripped a single to start the frame to bring up Ivan Marin. The nine-hole hitter laid a bunt down the third base line. The RailCats waited to field it hoping it would go foul and Hinshaw moved all the way to third base on the bunt single. Then, Oduber came through with another RBI single to make it 5-1.
Smith went deep again in the fifth. He crushed a home run on the first pitch of the frame to give the Saltdogs a five-run lead. He walked in the third, so it was his third home run in his last four plate appearances. The two blasts brought Smith to a tie with Jacobs with 10 home runs – the most in the league.
The RailCats pushed their second run across in the sixth. Randy Santiesteban and Colin Willis notched consecutive doubles to score a run. Reliever Dimitri Kourtis retired the next three batters to keep it a 6-2 game.
Jacobs drew a walk to start the seventh. Two batters later Smith ripped a double to right-center field and Jacobs sprinted around to score to extend the lead to five runs.
Lincoln capped it off with a run in the eighth. Hinshaw walked and Ivan Marin pounded a double to deep center field to knock him in.
Shairon Martis and Jose Jose combined to throw two scoreless innings of relief to finish off the game.
The Saltdogs look to clinch the series win with a victory on Saturday night. First is at 7:05 PM with coverage beginning at 6:35 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM and Saltdogs.com/stream.