LINCOLN, NE – The St. Paul Saints pounded out 15 runs on 18 hits and defeated the Lincoln Saltdogs 15-9 on Monday night at Haymarket Park.
Both offenses put together big innings but the Saints (18-11) bullpen was more effective in the high-scoring affair. The loss marks the first time the Saltdogs (18-13) have been defeated in consecutive games since May 25-26 at Fargo-Moorhead.
Lincoln surrendered a season high in runs scored and let St. Paul tie the season high in hits allowed with 18 base knocks.
The game started in the Satldogs favor. Christian Ibarra walked and Cesar Valera notched a single to bring Brandon Jacobs to the plate. The slugger clubbed a three-run homer to give Lincoln the lead. It was his league-best tenth home run of the season.
Saltdogs starter Dimitri Kourtis retired the first three batters he faced but ran into trouble in the second inning. The Saints sent nine batters to the plate and scored four runs on three hits to take the lead. Kourtis struggled with his control, walking two batters and hitting one with a pitch.
Lincoln snatched the lead back in the fourth. Chase Simpson started the frame with a triple and scored on a ground ball by Angel Reyes. After a Nathaniel Maggio walk, Dashenko Ricardo doubled a couple runs in to give the Saltdogs the lead. Next, Christian Ibarra snuck a base hit past a drawn-in infield to make it 7-4.
The lead vanished in the sixth. St. Paul sent 11 batters to the plate and tallied five runs on five hits off three different Saltdogs pitchers.
It wasn’t done after that. The Saints tacked on another four runs after eight hitters stepped up in the seventh inning. St Paul led 13-7.
The Saltdogs got a run back in the seventh. Valera singled and Jacobs walked to start the inning. They advanced on a wild pitch and Simpson sent a run in on a sacrifice fly.
St. Paul completed their scoring in the ninth. They added another two runs on four hits off reliever Jake Hohensee to make it 15-8.
The Saltdogs continued to battle until the end. Curt Smith and Simpson notched back-to-back hits to score a run off closer Tom Wilhelmsen who had allowed just one run over 14 appearances.
Lincoln will look to move past the first game and even the series on Tuesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:45 PM tomorrow with coverage starting at 6:15 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM and saltdogs.com/stream.