Curt Smith Sinks Stockade Hopes to End Steak, Saltdogs Win 5-4
The Salina Stockade found themselves trailing the Lincoln Saltdogs 4-1 through three-innings on Saturday night, and it looked like the 19-game losing streak would reach 20, yet they tied the game in fifth and had the opportunity to take the lead in the seventh. However, Curt Smith’s single in the bottom half of the inning drove in the go-ahead run and the Saltdogs would go onto win, 5-4. Smith proved to be the big nemesis to Salina on this evening, driving in four.
In the bottom of the first, Lincoln grabbed a three-run lead. Back-to-back walks to Ivan Marin and Brandon Jacobs started the Ending, and Cesar Valera followed with a base hit that scored Marin to put the Saltdogs on top. A walk to Tommy Mendonca loaded the bases, bringing Curt Smith to the plate. He quickly fell behind 0-2, then delivered a base hit that scored both Jacobs and Valera, and Lincoln was ahead 3-0.
The Stockade were kept off the scoreboard through the first two innings, but in the third they would get one of those runs back. A walk to Logan Trowbridge with one down got the rally started, and he moved to second on a wild pitch. With two down, Kewby Meyer singled into the center field, bringing Trowbridge home and the score was 3-1.
The Saltdogs responded right away, scoring a run in the bottom half of the inning. Valera walked and moved to third after stealing second base and an overthrow by the catcher. Two batters later it was Smith who was delivering the big blow once again, grounding out to short to score Valera to extend the lead back to three.
Trailing early, Salina refused to give up, and tied the score in the top of the fifth. Roche Woodard doubled to start the inning and Trowbridge followed with his second walk of the game. Aaron Olivas followed with a walk that loaded the bases and Meyer drove in his second run of the game with a base hit.
The bases were still loaded with no one out, and so manager Bobby Brown turned to his bullpen, bringing J.R. Bunda into the game. He induced a double-play by Jesse Baker which scored a Olivas before getting the final out of the inning. However, the score was now tied.
In the top of the seventh, Salina looked like they may grab their first lead of the ballgame. With two down, Baker singled and Jordan Caillouet followed with a double to put two runners in scoring position. Cody Coffman was intentionally walked to load the bases, but Steven Taft grounded out to end the threat.
In the bottom half of the inning, Lincoln would take the lead once again. Joe Robinson, who would pitch three scoreless innings in relief, came out of the game, and the Saltdogs scored right away against Skylar Hunter. The reliever retired the first two batters of the inning, before Valera singled to keep the inning alive. Mendonca followed with a base hit of his own, bringing Smith to the plate once again. On the first pitch from Hunter, Smith went the other way, singling just under the glove of the first baseman to put the Saltdogs back up by one.
Cameron McVey came on and pitched a scoreless eighth, and the Lincoln Saltdogs turned to Michael Wagner to close it out on the ninth. He gave up a two-out single, but struck out Caillouet to end the game for his third save of the season. J.R Bunda (4-0) earned the victory.
Curt Smith finished the evening 2-4 with 4-RBI to lead Lincoln. Cesar Valera was 2-3 with 3-runs scored and an RBI. The Salina Stockade were led by Kewby Meyer, who was 3-5 with 2-RBI. Logan Trowbridge drew 2-walks and scored twice.
These two teams will close out there four-game series tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05.
By Robert Pannier