LINCOLN, NE – Michael Tamburino retired the first 18 batters he faced and the Lincoln Saltdogs held on for a 4-3 win over the Sioux City Explorers on Sunday afternoon.
Tamburino took a perfect game into the 7th inning before he walked Luis Durango. Two batters later, he walked another hitter and was pulled for a reliever. Jose Jose came on and got Nate Samson to hit into a double play to end the inning.
Offensively, the Saltdogs provided Tamburino with support. Curt Smith launched a solo home run in the third inning for his first blast of the year. Then, Chase Simpson drew a walk and Chad Hinshaw tripled him home for the second run. Nathaniel Maggio continued the outburst with an RBI single to make it 3-0.
Lincoln added to the lead in the sixth. Michael Hart got aboard with an infield single and moved to second on a bunt. Two batters later, Brant Whiting belted a two-out ground-rule double to score Hart and make it 4-0.
The insurance run proved valuable because Sioux City started to come back. They scored two runs on three hits off of Jose in the 8th before reliever Eric Wooten induced an inning-ending double play.
The Saltdogs turned to J.R. Bunda to shut the door in the ninth. The third-year Saltdogs hurler allowed a run but forced Nelson Ward into a double play to end the game and earn the save.
Smith was the only Saltdogs player with multiple hits. In addition to the homer, the veteran smoked a triple and worked a walk. He is hitting .357 through four games.
Chase Simpson drew three walks to start his afternoon. He flew out in his final at bat, ending a streak of reaching base in eight straight plate appearances. Simpson finished the series hitting .538.
The Saltdogs have an off day before hosting the Wichita Wingnuts in a three-game series starting Tuesday. Derek Gordon will take the mound for the ‘Dogs with a 6:45 PM first pitch.