LINCOLN – The Lincoln Saltdogs (32-21) survived a six-run inning by the Cleburne Railroaders (25-30) to win their fifth straight game 7-6 on Saturday night.
Curt Smith hit a solo home run for his 49th homer of his Saltdogs career. The blast sent Smith past Josh Patton for the second-most in franchise history.
Carlos Pimentel earned the win after cruising through the first six innings. The Railroaders got hits on the first two pitches of the game before Pimentel settled in. The right-hander didn’t allow another hit until the seventh inning. Then they came in bunches.
Cleburne scored six runs on seven hits in the seventh inning. Oscar Mesa doubled and Maikol Gonzalez tripled while the other five hits were singles. Pimentel surrendered the first five runs of the frame while Leuris Gomez was responsible for the final run. The inning set Saltdogs pitching staff season-highs for runs in an inning, hits in an inning and batters in an inning.
But, the Saltdogs built a seven-run lead going in to the seventh. The ‘Dogs got it started in the bottom of the first. Curt Smith and Nathaniel Maggio each notched RBIs and Lincoln jumped out to a three-run lead.
Smith helped produce another run in the bottom of the third. He hit a solo home run over the left field wall to make it 4-0. The blast put him in second place in Saltdogs history behind Bryan Warner’s 90 homers.
The Saltdogs scored three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Lincoln started the frame with two walks before Brandon Jacobs knocked a single through the left side. Cesar Valera scored the first run and Smith scored the second after Cleburne botched the throw to the plate. Randolph Oduber knocked in the final Saltdogs run on a sacrifice fly that scored Jacobs.
After the disastrous top of the seventh, the Saltdogs relied on relievers Cameron McVey and Michael Wagner. McVey worked a perfect eighth inning and Wagner recorded his 10th save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning. Catcher Dashenko Ricardo, who was inserted as a defensive replacement, caught a runner stealing in the ninth.
The Saltdogs try to tie their season high with a sixth straight win on Sunday. Lincoln is also looking for a series-clinching win to take their second straight series. First pitch is at 2:05 PM with coverage beginning at 5:35 PM on ESPN 1480 and saltdogs.com.
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.