SIOUX CITY, IA – The Lincoln Saltdogs hit into two double plays and left seven runners on base in a 2-1 loss to the Sioux City Explorers on Saturday night.
Starting pitcher Austin Robichaux was marvelous for the Saltdogs (31-34). The righty took the hard-luck loss after going eight innings and allowing just two runs on six hits. He struck out four batters while notching his second complete game of the season.
Explorers’ (50-16) pitcher Taylor Jordan matched Robichaux throughout the game. The former MLB pitcher earned the win by tossing seven innings and giving up one run on seven hits. He struck out seven batters compared to just one walk.
The first opportunity came to Lincoln with a scoreless game in the top of the second inning. The first two batters reached on hits but Brandon Jacobs struck out and Dashenko Ricardo hit into a double play to end the inning.
Sioux City tallied their runs in the third inning. Robichaux retired the first two batters of the frame but Luis Durango kept the inning alive with a bloop single. Then, Michael Lang drew a walk bringing Jay Austin to the plate. The lefty doubled in both runners to make it 2-0.
After leaving two runners on base in the fourth, Lincoln was able to get a run in the fifth. Ricardo started the inning with a base hit and advanced to second on a groundout by Ivan Marin. Then, with two outs, Jamey Smart rifled a single through the left side of the infield to drive home Ricardo and make it a one-run game.
Both pitcher kept the game under control until the eighth. Cesar Valera began the inning with a triple off X’s reliever Ryan Flores. Sioux City brought on lefty Ryan Horstman to face the remaining hitters. He struck out the next two and got a fly out from Dan Johnson to strand the runner at third.
Lincoln managed a two-out hit in the ninth but shortstop Nate Samson made a diving stop to end the game.
With the loss, the Saltdogs equal their season-high with three straight road series losses. The defeat brings them to three games under .500. That equals the season low from when the ‘Dogs were 0-3 to start the year.
The Saltdogs try to get the series finale on Sunday. First pitch is at 6:05 PM with coverage beginning at 5:35 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM and http://www.espn1480.com/lincoln-saltdogs-baseball/.