LINCOLN, NE – Joe Bircher notched a complete game and threw 152 pitches but the Lincoln Saltdogs lost 2-0 to the Kansas City T-Bones at Haymarket Park.
Bircher went nine innings and gave up just two runs on five hits. He was his best when his pitch count reached triple digits – sending down the final 10 batters he faced. It was the third complete game of his career.
Kansas City (54-31) starter Tommy Collier also pitched a gem. The righty weaved seven shutout innings and scattered six hits. He struck out nine batters compared to one walk.
The T-Bones scored the first run in the third inning. Mason Davis blasted a solo home run over the right field wall to open the scoring.
The other run came in the fifth. Davis doubled to the right-center gap. Two batters later, Noah Perio Jr. knocked him in with a two-out single to make it 2-0.
T.J. Bennett worked a walk against KC righty Cody Winiarski in the ninth inning. The T-Bones’ closer struck out the final two batters to end the game and register his 11th save.
The Saltdogs (42-44) never got a runner to third base in the game. Lincoln’s offense had scored at least five runs in each of its last seven games but came up empty on Tuesday. The ‘Dogs were shutout for the fourth time this season.
Oddly, the Saltdogs are 2-3 when their starting pitcher goes the distance this season. Randolph Oduber, the league’s Player of the Week, bounced into three double plays in the game. That mark ties him for the most times hit into a double play in a game in Saltdogs history.
The Saltdogs play their third doubleheader in a week on Wednesday. First pitch for game one is at 11:00 AM with coverage beginning at 10:30 AM. Game two starts at 6:45 PM with coverage beginning at 6:15 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM and saltdogs.com/stream.