07/04/2017 9:29 PM
GRAND PRAIRIE -- The Texas AirHogs took a thrilling 4th of July contest from the Lincoln Saltdogs at AirHogs Stadium, winning 5-4 behind a strong start from Michael Freeman and an excellent performance at the plate by Casio Grider. The teams meet in a rubber match tomorrow at 7:05 pm.
Freeman allowed a run but also stranded 3 in scoring position in his 1st 2 innings on the mound. The AirHogs got him the lead on a 2-RBI triple by Brian Ragira off Saltdogs starter Carlos Pimentel in the bottom of the 2nd. The team extended the lead in the 3rd on an RBI base hit by Levi Scott to score Alvaro Rondon.
Lincoln struck back in the top of the 5th with a couple of runs on RBIs by Curt Smith and Cesar Valera to draw level at 3. The tie would not last long though, as Rondon led off the bottom of the 5th with a triple and scored on a Pimentel wild pitch before Grider went deep with a solo blast to make it 5-3. Grider finished with 2 hits and reached base 3 times. He has now reached 3 times in each of the AirHogs’ last five games. The home run was his second of the season.
The Saltdogs drew within one in the 7th on an RBI double by Randolph Oduber before scoreless 8th and 9th frames by Josh Blanco and Luis De La Cruz sealed the win for the AirHogs. De La Cruz picked up his 8th save and 3rd against Lincoln by leaving two aboard in the final frame.
The win improved Freeman, who struck out 8 Saltdogs in 6 innings to match his season-high mark, to 2-1. The loss dropped Pimentel to 5-2. The AirHogs have now won six of their last seven home games and three of their last four meetings with the Saltdogs.
The AirHogs (15-30) go for their 2nd series win of the homestand tomorrow at 7:05. RHP Tyler Bremer (2-4, 3.88 ERA) will start for Texas vs. RHP Seth Webster (2-3, 3.35 ERA) for Lincoln (25-18). A live broadcast will be available at mixlr.com/TXAirHogs and americanassociationbaseball.tv.
Tickets for the series finale and the AirHogs’ July 7-9 series vs. Salina 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 AND TANNER KRYSL]