The Lincoln Saltdogs took an 11-run lead before surviving a huge Fort Worth rally on Sunday, beating the Cats 12-9 at Haymarket Park. Lincoln improves to 4-6 on the season.
The Saltdogs scored in each of the first seven innings, hammering Fort Worth starter Ryan Riddle (0-1) for ten runs in the first five frames. Phil Hawke started off the scoring with an RBI single in the first inning, and tacked on a double in the second and a two-run home run in the fourth. Shea McFeely hit a solo homer in the second inning, Matt Maloney blasted a three-run shot in the third, and Lee Rubin crushed another three-run shot in the fifth. Deacon Burns added an RBI single in the sixth, and Ernesto Gonzalez hit an RBI triple in the seventh, tallies that would become important insurance runs.
Saltdogs starter Jarrett Gardner (2-0) cruised through the first eight innings, scattering eight hits and only allowing one run. In the ninth, however, Gardner failed to retire any of the four batters he faced, surrendering a three-run homer to Aljay Davis. Fort Worth tacked four runs onto Gardner’s ERA, and added four more off the Lincoln bullpen to close the gap to 12-9 before Carlos Guevara came on to earn his fourth save by recording the final out.
Hawke finished the game 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. Burns ended up 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run, while Josh Burrus went 2-for-3, stole a base and scored three times. Gardner’s win gives him 25 in his Saltdogs career, one shy of Kyle Ruwe’s all-time franchise record.
The Saltdogs open a three-game series at home against Sioux City Monday afternoon at 5:05pm. Lefty Vince Davis will make the start for Lincoln, against Explorers starter Nick Singleton.