CLEBURNE, TX – The Lincoln Saltdogs (49-29) collected 14 hits and launched two home runs but fell one run short in a 6-5 loss to the Cleburne Railroaders (37-45) on Monday night at the Depot at Cleburne Station.
It was a bizarre game. The lead changed three times, there were two ejections and the game took three hours and 36 minutes to complete. Perhaps the most bizarre ruling came with Cleburne ahead 3-2 in the top of the sixth inning. Saltdogs catcher Dashenko Ricardo belted a ball over the center field fence but it bounced off of equipment and ricocheted back onto the field. Center fielder K.C. Huth played the ball like normal and relayed it in to second base. The umpires were fooled and ruled it a double. Video confirmed it should have been a home run. The Saltdogs scored just one run in the inning instead of three.
The Saltdogs used the home run to grab the first lead. Nathaniel Maggio ripped the first pitch of the second inning over the right field wall to make it 1-0. Curt Smith smoked a two-out solo home run in the third inning to put Lincoln in front by two runs.
Cleburne grabbed the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Axel Johnson and Alex Polston doubled around a Huth single to plate two runs. Then, Maikol Gonzalez singled to send up Mitch Glasser with runners on first and third and two outs. Gonzalez tried to steal second and Ricardo threw to second baseman Cesar Valera. Gonzalez ran back to first and Polston beat Valera’s throw home to score.
The Saltdogs tied the game on the Ricardo double in the sixth before gaining the lead again in the seventh. Nathaniel Maggio got a key fielder’s choice that scored Valera to make it 4-3.
The back-and-forth game continued in the bottom of the seventh. Cleburne notched two triples off of relievers Fabio Martinez and J.R Bunda to score three runs and go ahead 6-4.
Ivan Marin scored on a Valera single in the eighth to make it a one run game.
Brandon Jacobs started the top of the ninth with a hit. Then, Ricardo bunted to pitcher Winston Abreu who threw out Jacobs at second base. The next batter, Matty Johnson, hit a soft liner to right field to put runners at first and second. Next, Tommy Mendonca pinch hit for Marin and struck out looking. He was ejected arguing the call. Joe Robbins struck out swinging to end the game. Abreu recorded his league-best 18thsave.
Saltdogs starting pitcher Seth Webster allowed three runs on six hits over 3.2 innings. It was his first outing since injuring his should on July 21st.
The Saltdogs left 14 runners on base. Martinez was charged with the loss for allowing three runs. The seventh inning runs broke a streak of nine straight scoreless innings for the right-hander. Monday’s loss was the first time the Saltdogs were defeated when hitting multiple home runs in a game.
The Saltdogs try to even the series on Tuesday night. First pitch is at 7:06 PM with coverage beginning at 6:35 PM on ESPN 1480 and saltdogs.com.
The team returns to Lincoln to face the Gary SouthShore RailCats on Monday, August 21st. 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.