GRAND PRAIRIE, TX – The Lincoln Saltdogs are thrilled to have Cesar Valera back with the team. The 2017 Team MVP rejoined the club on Wednesday and has compiled five hits and six RBIs over just 10 at bats. The biggest of the five hits was a go-ahead three-run homer that carried the Saltdogs to a 4-2 win over the Texas AirHogs on Thursday night.
Mike Tamburino earned the win for Lincoln with his fourth quality start of the season. Jose Jose earned his third save of the season by pitching a perfect ninth inning. The victory gave the Saltdogs (17-10) their fifth straight series win. They are 8-0 in series finales.
Texas (5-20) got on the board first. Dillon Thomas drew a walk to start the bottom of the second inning and moved to third base on a Stewart Ijames base hit. He scored as Du Xiaolei grounded into a double play.
The Saltdogs finally broke through in the sixth. Dashenko Ricardo started the frame with a single. Two batters later, Christian Ibarra notched a base hit. Then, Cesar Valera turned on a two-strike pitch and pulled it over the left field wall to make it 3-1.
Texas got a run back in the bottom half of the inning. Lu Zhenghong singled and moved up to third base on a passed ball. Correlle Prime drove him in with a liner to cut Lincoln’s lead to one run.
Eric Wooten and Shairon Martis pitched scoreless innings to keep it 3-2 entering the ninth. Then, Ricardo singled to start the Saltdogs’ side. Chad Hinshaw bunted him over then Ibarra walked. Valera hit into what looked like a double play, but the second baseman threw the relay throw into the stands allowing Ricardo to score to make it a two-run game.
Jose struck out two batters and pitched his second perfect inning against Texas to get the save.
The Saltdogs heads to Cleburne next for a three game series with the Railroaders. Friday’s first pitch is at 7:06 PM with coverage starting at 6:35 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM.