LINCOLN, NE – Mike Tamburino tossed seven shutout innings but the Lincoln Saltdogs fell 4-1 to the Cleburne Railroaders on Saturday night at Haymarket Park.
Tamburino, the Saltdogs (13-9) starter, allowed just two baserunners and faced only one above the minimum in his outing. He didn’t issue a walk and the one hit off him was an infield single. Eric Wooten was charged with his first loss of the season after allowing three runs (one earned) in the eighth inning.
Jared Mortensen was just as good for the Railroaders (9-12). The righty went 6.2 innings and overcame five walks and three hits to hold the Saltdogs scoreless. Michael Gunn earned the win for Cleburne.
The first runs came across in the eighth. Rafael Palmeiro walked and Axel Johnson pinch ran for him. Cameron Monger followed with a single and Alex Polston walked to load the bases. Blake Grant-Parks hit into a fielder’s choice to score the first run and brought up K.C. Huth with two outs. The center fielder ripped a line drive that bounced off the glove of Saltdogs third baseman Chase Simpson and let two more runs score to make it 3-0.
The Railroaders added another run in the ninth off reliever Dimitri Kourtis. Patrick Palmeiro and Levi Scott started the inning with singles and Chevy Clarke walked to load the bases. Johnson hit into a double play to score Palmeiro and give Cleburne a four-run lead.
The Saltdogs offense was dormant after the second inning. The Saltdogs went hitless from two outs in the second inning through one out in the eighth. Five batters reached on walks over the sixth and seventh innings but nobody could get a hit to push in a run.
The offense finally clicked in the ninth. Angel Reyes doubled and Dashenko Ricardo got aboard on an infield single. Chad Hinshaw followed with a walk and Christian Ibarra drove in a run with a single up the middle. Railroaders reliever got a strikeout and groundout from the final batters to strand the tying run at first base.
Lincoln failed to hit a home run for just the third time this season. The team’s streak of six straight multi-homer games came to an end.
The Saltdogs look to win their fourth straight series by taking the rubber match on Sunday. First pitch is at 1:05 PM and coverage begins at 12:35 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM and saltdogs.com.