WICHITA, KS – The Lincoln Saltdogs mustered just five hits against Wichita Wingnuts starter Charlie Gillies and fell 8-1 on Wednesday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
Wichita (25-19) earned the win to set up the rubber match on Thursday. The Saltdogs (26-17) were 4-0 against the Wingnuts before the loss. Gillies earned the win by lasting eight innings and giving up just one unearned run and striking out a season-high 11 batters. Tyler Herron was charged with the loss for his third straight start.
The Wingnuts started the scoring in the second inning. John Nester launched the first pitch he saw over the left field wall for a solo homer. Ryne Willard doubled in the next at bat and scored on a Leo Vargas double to make it 2-0.
Willard supplied the next run in the fourth inning with a solo homer. Herron has surrendered nine home runs on the season, tying him for the most in the league.
The Saltdogs were able to generate some offense in the sixth. Ivan Marin started the inning by getting to second base on an error by the third baseman. Newcomer T.J. Bennett sent him home with a two-out single to cut the deficit to two runs. Bennett has four RBIs in his first two games with the Saltdogs.
Wichita answered with more runs in the next half inning. Abel Nieves singled to start the frame and came home on a Tony Thomas triple. Then, Nester added a double to score Thomas and make it 5-1.
The final blow came in the eighth. Thomas and Nester each reached off reliever Dimitri Kourtis to begin things. Willard laid down a bunt and sun blinded Cesar Valera at first base, sending the throw all the way to the bullpen and letting two runs score. Vargas singled home the final run two batters later.
Randolph Oduber collected another base knock and has hits in 13 of his first 14 games back with the Saltdogs. Curt Smith extended his hit streak to six games but didn’t record an RBI for the first time since June 27th.
The Saltdogs look to clinch the series win with a victory on Thursday night. First pitch 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/.