Johnson Solid in Debut, Railroaders Win, 7-4
CLEBURNE, Tex. (June 25, 2019) – Stephen Johnson tossed five solid innings in his Cleburne debut, and the Railroaders used a pair of three-run innings to surge past the Lincoln Saltdogs 7-4 on Tuesday night at The Depot.
Johnson (1-0) fired a 1-2-3 top of the first inning, but then had to navigate around multiple baserunners in every subsequent frame. He struck out Alex Glenn with two on and two out to escape a jam in the second, danced around second and third with nobody out in the fourth, and induced a fly out to left to leave two more Lincoln runners in the fifth. All told, the righty allowed eight hits and two runs while striking out four and walking one.
Cleburne (17-20) got on the board first courtesy of a double steal in the bottom of the first inning. With runners at the corners and two outs, Chase Simpson broke from first. Saltdogs catcher Tyler Moore threw down to second, allowing Zach Nehrir to break for the plate and score to give the Railroaders a 1-0 lead.
Four straight hits with one out in the second extended the Cleburne lead to 4-0. Nick Rotola bounced an RBI single to score Hunter Clanin, who had tripled. K.C. Huth then ripped a triple of his own, and Daniel Robertson finished the scoring with a run-scoring single.
The Saltdogs (19-18) got on the board via a wild pitch in the third, but the Railroaders tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the fourth to seize control. Huth singled home Rotola, then came in to score himself on a Nehrir sacrifice fly. A passed ball scored the final run of the inning, giving the Railroaders a 7-1 lead.
Nick Tepesch (4-4) took the loss for Lincoln, allowing ten hits and seven runs over just four innings of work.
The Cleburne bullpen managed the final four frames, allowing a pair of solo homers to Christian Ibarra and Cody Regis in the seventh, but otherwise keeping the lead intact. Tyler Wilson worked around a one-out single in the top of the ninth to secure his fifth save.
The Railroaders and Saltdogs continue their series on Wednesday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:06 PM. Michael Gunn (2-0, 3.96) goes for Cleburne, while Lincoln counters with fellow lefty Kyle Kinman (1-1, 2.34).
For information on partnerships, season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Railroaders main office at (817) 945-8705, or visit the Railroaders official website at www.railroaderbaseball.com.
By Denning Gerig
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