GRAND PRAIRIE, TX – The Lincoln Saltdogs scored 11 runs in the first three innings and held on to beat the Texas AirHogs 12-5 on Wednesday night.
The game was more complex than a seven-run blowout, though. In the seventh inning, AirHogs (5-19) third basemen Casio Grider raced from second base all the way home to score on a passed ball. As he slid into home, his arm took out the leg of Saltdogs (16-10) starting pitcher Derek Gordon. Gordon spun around and hit the dirt. He left the game with an apparent leg injury. Grider came to the plate in the ninth inning and reliever Brian Smith threw two inside fastballs leading to a dugout-clearing standoff between the two teams. The umpires ejected Smith and Manager Bobby Brown.
The Saltdogs jumped out to an immediate lead. Chad Hinshaw walked to start the game. Two batters later, Cesar Valera belted a ground-rule double in his first at bat of the season. Curt Smith followed with a two-RBI single to open the scoring.
The runs continued in the second inning. Angel Reyes walked and Dashenko Ricardo doubled to put runners at second and third. AirHogs starter Sun Jianzeng threw a wild pitch to the next batter and Reyes trotted home to score. After another walk, Christian Ibarra doubled to drive in two more runs and make it 5-0.
Lincoln poured it on in the third. They scored six runs on three hits and an error to build the lead to 11-0. Nathaniel Maggio, Hinshaw and Smith each picked up RBIs in the inning.
Gordon was effective in the following innings but gave up two runs on three hits in the fourth. Stewart Ijames blasted a solo shot in the sixth to make it 11-3. Li Ning tripled and scored on a Grider double in the seventh. Then, the passed ball let Grider score to make it 11-5.
The Saltdogs were able to tack on another run in the 9th. Chase Simpson walked and scored on a double by Maggio to complete the scoring.
Lincoln tries to win its fifth straight series by taking the series finale Thursday night. First pitch in Grand Prairie is at 7:05 PM with coverage starting at 6:35 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM.