LINCOLN, NE – Austin Robichaux tossed a complete game shutout for the Lincoln Saltdogs (24-18) and the Gary SouthShore RailCats (22-19) blasted four home runs as the two clubs split a doubleheader at Haymarket Park. The teams played two seven-inning games because Saturday night’s contest was postponed due to rain.
GAME ONE: Saltdogs 2 RailCats 5
The RailCats belted four home runs and dispatched of the Saltdogs 5-2 in the first game.
Brendan Jenkins earned the win for Gary SouthShore by tossing two scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Jenkins, starter Gabe Perez and closer Adam Quintana combined to hold Lincoln to just four hits in the game. Quintana struck out five of the six batters he faced and RailCats pitchers struck out 10 hitters in total.
Saltdogs starter Mike Tamburino picked up his second straight loss. The star pitcher had his roughest outing of the year by surrendering five runs on eight hits over six innings. Jake Hohensee tossed a scoreless inning of relief.
Gary grabbed the lead in the first inning. Reggie Wilson lined the second pitch of the game over the right field fence to give the RailCats the early advantage.
The Saltdogs answered back. Brant Whiting doubled to the wall with two outs in the first. Then, Curt Smith popped up to shallow right-center field. The second baseman and right fielder collided and dropped the ball, letting Whiting score to tie the game.
Lincoln grabbed the lead in the second inning. Randolph Oduber started the frame with a double. Cesar Valera and Chad Hinshaw drew back-to-back walks to load the bases for Ivan Marin. The nine-hole hitter sent in a run with a sacrifice fly but the next two batters were retired to end the inning with just one run across.
Gary went back to the long ball in the fourth. Colin Willis blasted a solo shot to tie the game. Two batters later, Alex Crosby smoked another solo homer to give the RailCats the lead.
The RailCats put the finishing touches on in the sixth. D.K. Carey notched a one-out single before Wilfredo Giminez cranked the final homer of the game to make it 5-2. The four home runs were a season-high for the RailCats and tied the season-high allowed by the Saltdogs.
GAME TWO: Saltdogs 1 RailCats 0
Robichaux handled the RailCats in game two. The tall right-hander retired the first eight batters he saw and eventually collected the complete game shutout. It was his first professional complete game and the team’s first shutout of the season.
Robichaux, a former Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajun, allowed just five baserunners over seven innings. He struck out five batters, including three straight between the third and fourth innings, and induced double plays in the final two innings.
The seven-inning effort was the second time a Saltdogs player has gone the distance this season, after Mike Tamburino’s complete game on June 20th. The last complete game shutout from a Saltdogs pitcher was thrown by Brian McAfee on July 17, 2017 against the Cleburne Railroaders at Haymarket Park.
The Saltdogs offense gave Robichaux all the support he needed in the first inning. RailCats starter Jeff McKenzie hit Randolph Oduber with a pitch to start the inning. Next, Brandon Jacobs walked but was doubled off on a Cesar Valera ground ball. Curt Smith knocked in Oduber with a two-out double to plate the only run of the game. Smith finished the series 5-8 with 6 RBIs.
Lincoln managed a season-low two hits on the game. McKenzie also notched a complete game and retired the final 10 batters he faced.
The Saltdogs earned the series win and have won two straight home series. They are 10-3 in series finales and 4-2 in rubber matches.
The Saltdogs have Monday off before starting a six-game road trip in Wichita. First pitch on Tuesday is at 7:05 PM with coverage beginning at 6:35 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM and http://www.espn1480.com/lincoln-saltdogs-baseball/.
For more information on the Saltdogs, follow the team on Facebook and Twitter/Instagram @saltdogsball. For ticket information visit https://saltdogs.com/tickets/ or call (402) 474-2255.