GRAND PRAIRIE, TX – Texas AirHogs closer Luis De La Cruz threw a live ball into the dugout with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the tenth inning to allow the Lincoln Saltdogs to win 3-1 on Monday night.
Nathaniel Maggio, Ivan Marin and Curt Smith all drew walks in the top of the tenth. After Smith walked with two outs, De La Cruz made the game-deciding move of trying to exchange a ball without calling time. The play is ruled the same as a position player throwing the ball into the stands, two bases are awarded. Texas manager Billy Martin Jr. was ejected arguing the call. Texas pitcher James Russell was ejected in the next half inning.
The extra-innings contest was the result of a pitcher’s duel. The Saltdogs’ Derek Gordon and Texas’ T.J. Bozeman combined to throw 15 shutout innings. Gordon allowed only three hits while tying his season-high with nine strikeouts.
The Saltdogs scored the first run of the game in the top of the ninth inning. Cesar Valera cranked a 1-0 pitch over the left field fence for a solo home run. It was his second long ball of the season.
Texas tied it in the bottom of the ninth against Saltdogs closer Michael Wagner. Alvaro Rondon beat out an infield single and was pinch run for by Trevor Sealey. Casio Grider bunted Sealey to second base to bring up Levi Scott. The AirHogs’ first base hit a single to right field to score Sealey and tie the game.
After the Saltdogs scored the two runs in the top of the tenth, Wagner stayed on to pitch the bottom half of the inning. He allowed one single but retired the other three batters he faced to earn the win.
The Saltdogs broke a four-game losing streak with the win and improved to 4-1 in extra innings games. Curt Smith notched his 415th hit as a Saltdogs player with a double in third inning. The hit tied him with Albenis Machado for the fourth most in franchise history.
The Saltdogs look for a series-clinching win on Tuesday. First pitch is at 6:05 PM with coverage beginning at 5:35 PM on ESPN 1480 and saltdogs.com.
The Saltdogs return to Lincoln to play the Salina Stockade on Tuesday, July 11th. 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.