WICHITA, KS – The Lincoln Saltdogs had the tying run on base or at the plate in each of the final four innings but could not complete a rally and lost 5-3 to the Wichita Wingnuts on Thursday night.
The Wingnuts (27-17) won the final two games of the set to emerge with the series win. The Saltdogs (25-20) have lost three straight road series.
Tyler Kane earned the win by giving up just two hits in six innings of work. Daniel Tillman secured a five-out save for the ‘Nuts. Eric Wooten picked up the loss after allowing four runs over five innings in his second start of the season.
Wichita got on the board first. John Nester drew a walk to start the second inning and Ryne Willard followed with a single. Leo Vargas knocked Nester in with a fielder’s choice to open the scoring.
The Saltdogs answered back in the third. Nathaniel Maggio ripped a single to begin the inning. Two batters later, Randolph Oduber belted a home run over the left field wall to give the Saltdogs the lead. It was Oduber’s second home run since rejoining the Saltdogs (15 games).
Lincoln’s lead didn’t last long. Logan Watkins began the next half inning with a triple – the first of his three extra-base hits. A grounder moved him to third and he scored on an RBI single from Abel Nieves to tie it up.
The Wingnuts grabbed the lead for good in the fifth. Watkins tripled to start the frame and scored on a Zach Nehrir base hit. Then, Nehrir stole second base and third base on consecutive pitches. The speedy center fielder scored on a Nester hit to make it 4-2.
Wichita added a run off reliever Shairon Martis in the sixth. Nick Rotola notched a broken-bat single for his first professional hit. The quick rookie wheeled home to score on a Watkins double to build the lead to three runs.
The Saltdogs tallied three straight hits, topped off by an Oduber RBI, to get a run in the seventh. Oduber has five doubles, two homers and 11 RBIs in his 15 games with the ‘Dogs. He has recorded hits in 14 games.
Lincoln threatened in the final innings but could not manage a rally. They struck out six time in the final four innings.
The Saltdogs head to St. Paul for a three-game series with the Saints next. First pitch on Friday 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/.