LINCOLN – Curt Smith drove in four runs as the Lincoln Saltdogs beat the Salina Stockade 5-4 for their tenth straight home win.
2,707 watched the Saltdogs (13-8) tie a franchise record for consecutive home wins. They beat the previous single-season record of eight straight home wins Friday night and have a new overall record in their sights. The Saltdogs won ten straight home games from the end of the 2006 to through the start of the 2007 season.
The Saltdogs were in control to start the game. The first five batters reached and Cesar Valera and Curt Smith drove three in. Valera notched an RBI single and Smith hit a ground ball through the middle to score two with the bases loaded.
The Stockade (1-21) got their first run in the top of the third inning. Logan Trowbridge walked and moved to second base on a wild pitch. Kewby Meyer notched his second of three hits on the day with two outs to score Trowbridge and cut into the Saltdogs lead.
Smith knocked in another run in the bottom of the third inning. Valera started the frame with a walk and stole second base. Salina catcher Jesse Baker threw wide of the base to allow Valera to get to third on the throwing error. Then, Smith hit a ground ball to the right side of the infield that allowed Valera to score and make it 4-1.
The game changed in the top of the fifth inning. Saltdogs starter Matt Portland allowed a double to Roche Woodard before walking the next two batters. Then, Meyer singled in a run to end Portland’s day. J.R. Bunda was inserted with the bases loaded and no outs. The right-hander got Baker to hit into a double play that scored the runner at third. The tying run scored on a passed ball from catcher Brent Dean before Bunda recorded the final out.
Portland gave up four runs (two earned) on four hits. The lefty struck out four batters and walked three.
The Saltdogs regained the lead for good in the bottom of the seventh inning and it all happened with two outs. Valera singled and moved to third on a base hit by Tommy Mendonca. Next, Smith snuck a ground ball through a hole in the right side of the infield to send Valera home. It was Smith’s fourth RBI of the game.
Cameron McVey pitched a perfect top of the eighth inning and Michael Wagner notched his third save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning.
Bunda recorded his team-high fourth win after lasting three innings and not getting charged with a run. He is tied for second in the league for wins behind Fargo-Moorhead’s Cesilio Pimentel’s five victories.
The Saltdogs go for the series sweep of the Stockade on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is at 2:05 PM with coverage beginning at 1:35 PM on ESPN 1480 and saltdogs.com.
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