CLEBURNE, TX – Derek Gordon allowed just one run over seven innings and the Lincoln Saltdogs (50-30) edged the Cleburne Railroaders (38-46) 4-1 in the series finale at The Depot at Cleburne Station.
Gordon improved to 9-2 with the win and dropped his ERA to 2.89. The right-hander struck out seven and allowed just four hits on the way to his second straight quality start.
The victory prevented a sweep, something that hasn’t happened to the Saltdogs since the second series of the season. It was Lincoln’s first series loss since July 3-5 against the Texas AirHogs.
The game looked like it could go similar to the first two in the early going. Gordon walked the second batter he faced and then Nick Van Stratten hit a triple down the third base line to knock in the first run of the game.
It took the Saltdogs until the fifth inning to answer. Matty Johnson singled with one out and Cesar Valera followed with a walk. Then Curt Smith knocked Johnson in with a base hit. Nathaniel Maggio worked a walk two batters later to bring up Brandon Jacobs with the bases loaded and two outs. The left fielder walked following a full count to send in a run and give the Saltdogs a 2-1 lead.
Smith provided the offense again in the top of the seventh. Valera started the frame with a single. Then, Smith blasted a towering home run to left field to make it 4-1. It was his second home run of the series after not hitting one since July 15th. Smith was 7-13 with three runs scored and four RBIs on the series.
J.R. Bunda pitched a scoreless ninth inning and Michael Wagner retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth to secure his 18th save of the season.
Valera was 3-4 with two runs scored and a walk on Wednesday night. He now boasts 102 hits on the season, becoming the sixth player in the league to get to triple digit hits on the year.
The Saltdogs have a day off before traveling to Sioux City to take on the Explorers. First pitch on Friday is at 7:05 PM with coverage beginning at 6:35 PM on ESPN 1480 and saltdogs.com.
The team returns to Lincoln to face the Gary SouthShore RailCats on Monday, August 21st. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling (402) 474-2255 or visiting Saltdogs.com. For the latest information on the Saltdogs follow the team on Facebook and Twitter/Instagram @saltdogsball.