LINCOLN – The Lincoln Saltdogs hit three first inning home runs and never looked back on the way to an 11-6 win over the Gary SouthShore RailCats on Sunday afternoon.
The victory gave the Saltdogs (19-10) the series win over the division-rival RailCats (15-16) and means the Saltdogs will stay in first place in the American Association Central Divison.
The wind was blowing out to right field and it was apparent the ball would carry after the first inning. Brandon Jacobs hit the first home run in the second at bat of the season. After a Cesar Valera double, Curt Smith belted a two-run shot to center field. Christian Ibarra completed the first inning with a solo homer to left field, his second of the season. It was the first multi-home run inning of the season for the Saltdogs who claimed a 4-0 lead.
The RailCats recorded their first homer of the game in the 2nd inning. Ryan Fitzgerald bombed a solo home run over the visiting bullpen to cut it to 4-1.
Gary SouthShore narrowed the gap some more in the top of the third inning. Chase Harris drew a walk to bring up Anthony Cheky Jr. The Michigan State product blasted a two-run homer to right field to make it 4-3.
The Saltdogs responded in the next half inning. Smith and Trever Adams drew walks to start the inning sending Ibarra to the plate. The Saltdogs third baseman came through with an opposite field base hit to score Smith. After a Randolph Oduber walk and a pitching change, Ivan Marin singled up the middle to score two more runs and make it 7-3.
The RailCats hit the sixth home run of the afternoon in the fourth inning. Alex Crosby pulled a pitch past the right field wall in the first at bat of the frame.
The Saltdogs found more offense in the bottom of the seventh inning. Ibarra started the inning with a single and stole second base. Then, with two outs, Marin singled him in. Matty Johnson followed with a two-run homer for his second hit of his Saltdogs career. The Saltdogs led 10-4.
Greg Tagert’s team struck back again in the eighth. They scored two runs on three hits to make it a four-run game again.
The Saltdogs came up with another insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. Valera started things with a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. Next, a Trever Adams single moved him to third and Valera came in to score on a wild pitch to complete the scoring at 11-6.
Carson McPherson made his professional debut out of the bullpen, going one inning and giving up one hit and two walks. Carlos Pimentel struck out eight batters in 7.1 innings to earn his fourth win of the season.
The four home run outburst is tied for the season high on the season for the Saltdogs. The ‘Dogs have not lost a series at Haymarket Park.
The Saltdogs start the second series of the homestand on Monday against the Winnipeg Goldeyes. First pitch is at 6:45 PM with coverage beginning at 6:15 PM on ESPN 1480 and saltdogs.com.
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