CLEBURNE, TX – The Lincoln Saltdogs tallied four more hits than the Cleburne Railroaders but lost 6-5 in the series opener on Friday night.
The game featured three lead changes and a couple ties. The two teams blasted three homers: a solo shot from Rafael Palmeiro and back-to-back homers by Angel Reyes and Christian Ibarra.
Cleburne (11-16) jumped to the first lead. Saltdogs (17-11) starter Tyler Herron retired the first five batters he faced but Levi Scott blooped a single to keep the second inning going. Then, John Menken and Alex Polston drew walks to load the bases for Blake Grant-Parks. The catcher lined an opposite-field double to clear the bases and give the Railroaders a three-run lead.
The Saltdogs got on the board in the fifth. Brandon Jacobs doubled to start the inning. Two batters later, Angel Reyes launched his eighth home run of the season to cut Cleburne’s lead to one. Run. Two pitches later, Christian Ibarra hit a home run to tie the game. The Reyes and Ibarra blasts were the first back-to-back homers of the season hit by Lincoln.
The Railroaders responded with a homer in the sixth. The 53-year-old Palmeiro smacked one over the right field wall to give Cleburne the 4-3 lead.
The lead was short-lived. Ibarra singled and advanced on a passed ball to start the threat in the seventh. Later, Cesar Valera drove him in with a single and Curt Smith ripped a double to score another run and make it 5-4.
The seesaw game continued the next half inning. Menken reached on an infield single and moved to second on a bad throw by the third baseman. A bunt moved him to third before Grant-Parks singled him home to tie it up.
The final blow came in the 8th. Angelo Gumbs notched a base hit and moved to third on a hit from Scott. Gumbs scored on a wild pitch to give the Railroaders the lead. Shawn Blackwell sent the Saltdogs down in order in the ninth to get his third save
The Saltdogs try to even the series on Saturday night. First pitch is at 7:06 PM with coverage starting at 6:35 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM.