LINCOLN, NE – The Lincoln Saltdogs scored two runs in the eighth inning to beat the Cleburne Railroaders 4-3 in front of 5,416 fans in the home finale at Haymarket Park.
Randolph Oduber knocked home Brandon Jacobs with a double to tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth. Then, Curt Smith sent Oduber in with a sacrifice fly to take the 4-3 advantage.
J.R. Bunda notched the save by retiring the side in order in the top of the ninth inning.
The victory gave the Saltdogs (50-47) the series sweep, their first since June 22-24th against the Chicago Dogs. Lincoln finished its home schedule 28-22.
It was a struggle for the Saltdogs before the eighth inning fireworks. Cleburne (30-66) jumped ahead in the first inning. Oduber misplayed a fly ball in right field that allowed the first batter of the game to get to third base. Justin Byrd knocked the runner in with a groundout to start the scoring. Then, Cam Monger drew a walk and Patrick Palmeiro singled to establish another threat. Dustin Williams delivered a two-out hit to make it 2-0.
The Railroaders added another run in the second inning. Alex Polston singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Byrd singled him home to give Cleburne a three-run lead.
Saltdogs starter Joe Bircher settled in after that. The lefty gave up just one hit over his last four innings and struck out a season-high nine batters. It was his third straight quality start.
Railroaders’ starter Patrick Mincey held the Saltdogs hitless until the fifth. Cesar Valera registered a hustling double to start the inning. Then, Alex Glenn singled and stole second base. Ivan Marin drove in both runners with a single to center field to trim the deficit to one run.
Derek Gordon pitched two shutout innings to keep it a one-run game. He earned his team-high eighth win for the effort.
The Saltdogs hosted the Home Run Beer Mile benefitting Project Pink’d before the game and shaved infielder Jamey Smart’s head during the game to support the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
The Saltdogs head to Rosemont, IL to play the Chicago Dogs in the final series of the season. It is Lincoln’s first trip to Impact Field. First pitch on Saturday is at 7:05 PM with coverage beginning at 6:35 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM and https://www.espn1480.com/lincoln-saltdogs-baseball/.