SIOUX CITY, IA – The Lincoln Saltdogs owned leads in both Friday night games against the Sioux City Explorers but lost each of them to the X’s.
GAME ONE: Saltdogs 3 X’s 6
The teams resumed a rain-suspended game from July 15th. The Saltdogs were ahead 2-1 with runners at first and second base with one out in the top of the fifth inning when the game resumed. Sioux City inserted reliever Patrick Schuster and he induced an inning-ending double play from the first Saltdogs batter.
The Saltdogs used Eric Wooten, who started the game on the 15th, in the resumed contest. He retired the side in order in the fifth but ran into trouble in the sixth. The X’s smacked five straight hits to plate three runs and take a two-run lead. After Wooten recorded the second out, Daniel Jackson finished off the inning by singling in one more run to make it 5-2.
Sioux City brought on righty Will Lamarche in the seventh and he walked Angel Reyes. Then, Brandon Jacobs smashed a double to drive in Reyes and trim the deficit to two runs. Jacobs’ double was the only hit for the Saltdogs in the 4.2 innings of the restarted game.
The X’s built the lead back out in the bottom of the seventh. Luis Durango reached on an error and stole second base. Jose Sermo singled him home to extend the lead back to three runs.
Eric Karch notched the save by retiring the Saltdogs in order in the ninth inning.
GAME TWO (7 innings): Saltdogs 3 X’s 5
The Saltdogs grabbed the early lead in game two. Christian Ibarra blasted a two-run homer in the top of the first inning to grab the advantage.
Rookie Brad Thoutt made his first professional start and surrendered a run in the first inning. Michael Lang tripled to right field and scored on a groundout by Nate Samson to make it 2-1. Fellow rookie, catcher Daniel Herrera, caught Jose Sermo stealing to end the inning. It was his first runner thrown out as a pro.
Thoutt hit his groove after the first and retired eight straight batters through the next few frames. The streak ended when Sermo bashed an opposite-field homer with two outs in the fourth to tie the game.
X’s starter Luis Mateo breezed through the next three innings but stumbled in the fifth. He walked Cesar Valera with two outs and Valera stole second base. Then, rookie Jamey Smart collected his first Saltdogs RBI with a line drive base hit to right field to give Lincoln the lead.
Sioux City had the answer again in the next half inning. David Kerian reached on a walk and moved to third base after an errant pickoff attempt from Thoutt. He scored on a Dylan Kelly single bringing the score to 3-3.
The final blows came in the bottom of the sixth. X’s hitter Jay Baum singled and advanced to third on a poor throw from the left fielder. Next, Dexture McCall flew a ball deep to center field that bounced off T.J. Bennett’s glove. Baum scored and McCall went to third base. David Kerian kept it going by hitting a shallow fly ball to left field. Brandon Jacobs’ throw was up the line and McCall avoided the tag to score and make it 5-3.
Eric Karch gave up a leadoff double to Randolph Oduber but retired the next three batters to record his second save of the night.
The Saltdogs committed a season-high four errors in the second game. Overall, they made six errors over 10 innings in the field on Friday night. They managed just six hits over 11.2 innings at the plate.
Lincoln looks to regroup on Saturday night. First pitch 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/.
For more information on the Saltdogs, follow the team on Facebook and Twitter/Instagram @saltdogsball. For ticket information visit https://saltdogs.com/tickets/ or call (402) 474-2255.