WICHITA, KS – The Lincoln Saltdogs lost 9-8 to the Wichita Wingnuts in their last game at historic Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. The teams combined to push across 17 runs on 24 hits and three home runs. The Saltdogs (40-42) were out-homered for the first time in their last seven games.
Wichita (51-32) jumped ahead in the first two innings. Zach Nehrir singled in his first at bat of the series and Angel Reyes doubled him home for the first run. They tacked on another in the second inning on a sacrifice fly from Logan Trowbridge.
The Wingnuts grabbed a sizeable lead in the third. After a double play ball cleared the bases, Tony Thomas started a two-out rally against Saltdogs starter Joe Bircher. The Wingnuts’ slugger doubled and Chase Simpson followed with a walk. John Nester singled in a run and the next batter walked to load the bases. Trowbridge delivered with a bases-clearing triple to make it 6-0.
The Saltdogs plated a couple runs in the fourth on RBI singles from Cesar Valera and Daniel Herrera. The two batters combined for six hits on the night.
Wichita got the runs back in the fifth. Simpson walked and Nester blasted a two-run shot to bring it to 8-2.
Then, the Saltdogs offense exploded. T.J. Bennett, Valera, and Herrera started the frame with hits. Ivan Marin walked in the first run then the pitcher hit Christian Ibarra with a pitch to send in another. After the hit by pitch, the Wingnuts summoned reliever Austin Boyle. The first batter he faced, Brandon Jacobs, bashed a full-count pitch over the fence for a game-tying grand slam. Jacobs has knocked homers in three straight games.
The Saltdogs had a runner in scoring position in the seventh but could not get him home. Then, Thomas smacked a solo homer in the bottom of the seventh inning to make it 9-8.
Daniel Tillman retired the four batters he faced to notch his league-best 24th save.
The Saltdogs head to Texas for a three-game series with the AirHogs next. First pitch on Friday 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/.