06/22/2017 10:33 PM
GRAND PRAIRIE -- The Texas AirHogs dropped their series opener with the Lincoln Saltdogs 4-3 Thursday at AirHogs Stadium. Lefty starter James Russell finished with 10 strikeouts, a single-game season-high for AirHogs pitching.
Russell allowed 4 straight to reach after getting the 1st out in the 1st. 3 of those runners scored on a pair of doubles by Curt Smith and Trever Adams. After that, the MLB vet settled down and settled in, posting 1-2-3 innings in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th and allowing just 3 more baserunners before exiting the game after the 6th. He struck out the side twice.
The AirHogs boarded 7 baserunners over 5 innings against Saltdogs starter Dimitri Kourtis but failed to break through. The runs came in the 7th against Lincoln relief man Fabio Martinez. With 2 outs, Alvaro Rondon drove in Brian Ragira, who led the inning off with a double, and Ryne Willard with a single to left to make it 3-2. Rondon himself came in on a base hit to right by Ryan Wagner.
With the score 3-3, the Saltdogs quickly struck back. AirHogs reliever Billy Waltrip put Cesar Valera on with a walk to lead off the 8th. Valera stole 2nd and then came in on a base hit by Smith to put the visitors up 4-3. Smith finished with 3 RBIs and a run scored in the contest.
Michael Wagner pitched a scoreless 9th to earn his 7th save of the season. Leuris Gomez picked up the win by pitching behind Martinez in the 7th, improving to 4-2 in the process. Waltrip dropped to 0-2 with the loss. The AirHogs are now 0-4 vs. Lincoln this season. All the losses have come by 1 run.
The AirHogs (8-25) continue the series with Lincoln (22-11) tomorrow. RHP TJ Bozeman (2-1, 2.41 ERA) is set to start for the AirHogs vs. RHP Carlos Pimentel (4-0, 2.89 ERA) for Lincoln. 1st pitch is slated for 7:05. A live stream will be available at mixlr.com/TXAirHogs and americanassociationbaseball.tv.
Tickets to all 3 remaining games on the homestand are available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. For the latest information on the AirHogs, follow the team on Twitter and Facebook @TXAirHogs.
[FRONT PAGE PANEL PHOTO BY WALTER TENERY]