GRAND PRAIRIE, TX – Austin Robichaux notched a quality start but the Lincoln Saltdogs made three errors and left 11 runners on base in a 5-2 loss to the Texas AirHogs on Tuesday night.
Jake Hohensee picked up the loss for Lincoln (15-10) after he allowed four runs (just one earned) in the eighth inning. Ran Song earned the win for Texas (5-18) while Taylor Wright notched his third save.
The loss spoiled a superb start by Saltdogs pitcher Austin Robichaux. The righty lasted a season-high six innings and allowed just one run on five hits. He struck out nine batters compared to one walk.
Lincoln opened the scoring in the top of the second inning. Chase Simpson started the frame with a double. Then, Brandon Jacobs drove him in with a single to the wall to give the Saltdogs the lead.
The Saltdogs added to the score in the third. Brant Whiting pulled a solo home run over the right field fence to make it 2-0. Whiting’s first blast of the season means every Saltdogs hitter on the active roster has launched a home run this season.
Lincoln’s offense dried up after the third. The Saltdogs tallied just three hits and left 10 runners on base during the final six innings.
The AirHogs got on the board in the sixth. Yang Jin, Correlle Prime and Dillon Thomas collected three straight singles off Robichaux to score a run.
Texas threatened again in the seventh. They loaded the bases against reliever Eric Wooten but the Saltdogs turned a double play to get out of the inning and preserve the lead.
The lead changed in the eighth. Hohensee walked Correlle Prime to start the inning. Then, second baseman Ivan Marin misplayed a ground ball allowing Dillon Thomas to reach. Lincoln intentionally walked the next batter to load the bases with no outs. Hohensee struck out the next hitter but Luan Chenchen followed with a double to knock in two runs. After a fly out, Li Ning hit a routine grounder that Marin booted letting two more run score. The Saltdogs limped to the ninth down 5-2.
Marin singled, Christian Ibarra walked and Curt Smith was hit by a pitch to load the bases for the Saltdogs in the ninth. Wright, the Texas closer, struck out the final batter to strand the tying run at first base.
The Saltdogs wrap up the first quarter of the season with a 15-10 record, which puts the team on pace to finish 60-40.
Derek Gordon takes the hill on Wednesday to try to regain the series lead for the Saltdogs. First pitch in Grand Prairie is at 7:05 PM with coverage starting at 6:35 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM.