The Lincoln Saltdogs dropped the finale of their opening homestand on Wednesday, falling 2-1 to the Sioux City Explorers. Lincoln stands at 5-8 on the season, and went 2-4 on the homestand.
Saltdogs starter Jonathan Figueroa (0-3) and Sioux City starter Steve Spurgeon (2-0) locked horns in a great pitchers’ duel, resulting in a game that lasted just over two-and-a-half hours. Spurgeon threw 7.2 scoreless innings, taking a no-hitter two outs into the fifth inning and giving up just six hits overall. Figueroa was nearly as good, scattering ten hits and allowing just two runs over his seven innings of work.
The Explorers scored both of their runs after two were out with no one on base in the second inning. Derek Schermerhorn singled, stole second and scored on an RBI single by Dan Jordan. A walk and another single loaded the bases, before a balk by Figueroa plated the second run.
Lincoln, on the other hand, didn’t plate a run until the bottom of the ninth, when Shea McFeely hit a sacrifice fly. X’s closer Brett Reid pitched around the run to record his fourth save. The Saltdogs left runners in scoring position in the first, sixth and eighth innings.
Both teams put their first two batters of the game on base, but failed to score in the first inning. In the top of the first, Sioux City had runners on first and third with no one out. Anthony Webster hit a grounder to third, and the Saltdogs trapped runner Dustin Jones in a rundown between third and home. Nick McCoola tried to advance from first to third during the rundown, but the Saltdogs tagged both him and Jones out near third base for a bizarre double play. In the bottom of the first, Lincoln had runners on first and second with nobody out, but Phil Hawke lined out to short, doubling Albenis Machado off of second base.
McFeely finished the game 2-for-3 with his RBI, while Machado and Hawke also had two hits apiece for Lincoln. On the mound, Daryl Arreola and Carlos Guevara each pitched a scoreless inning of relief for the Saltdogs.
Lincoln has Thursday off, before traveling to Sioux Falls on Friday to begin a three-game series. Righty Jim Paduch will start for the Saltdogs Friday night.