LINCOLN SALTDOGS GAME REPORT
Friday, July 7, 2006 at Midway Stadium, St. Paul, Minn.
Lincoln (31-21) 010 000 300 4 8 2 / 5 LOB
@ St. Paul (31-21) 100 400 70x 12 18 3 / 11 LOB
WPJustin Lord (7-0)
LPJeff Blitstein (4-1)
HRNick Gretz, SP (1)
ST. PAUL GETS BIG HIT AND BIG INNING TO BEAT SALTDOGS, 12-4
While St. Paul finally celebrated the Fourth of July with their fans, who turned out in record-breaking numbers, the Lincoln Saltdogs continued their second half struggles in a 12-4 loss to the Saints Friday night at Midway Stadium. The Dogs have now lost four straight games, the longest losing streak of the season.
On a patriotic night in St. Paul, where a crowd of 9,251 assembled, the Saints jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a run in the bottom half of the first inning. Lincoln answered back to tie in the top of the second when Brett Cooley doubled off the wall in center field and scored on Jay Yaconettis RBI single. The game remained tied until the fourth. St. Paul broke the stalemate in a big way with a grand slam homerun off the bat of Nick Gretz that put the Saints on top 5-1.
It took a couple of innings but Lincoln got off the mat and started its comeback in the top of the seventh scoring three runs to make it a one-run game. Kevin Sullivan led off with a single and, after an out, Paul Powell walked, and Yaconetti belted a double to left center that drove in two runs. On the play, Yaconetti injured his right hamstring but remained in the game long enough to score. He moved to third on an infield single by Evan Tartaglia and then scored when a pickoff throw to first base ended up in right field. The error put the Saltdogs to within in run at 5-4 with Tartaglia at second. He later reached third but with two outs Bryan Warner popped out to end the rally.
St. Paul didnt allow the Saltdogs to stay close for long. The Saints sent 11 batters to the plate in the bottom half of the seventh and scored seven runs on six hits to pull away for their seventh win against Lincoln this season.
The game featured an all-star pitching matchup between a pair of unbeatens in Lincolns Jeff Blitstein, who entered the game 4-0 with three victories against the Saints, and St. Pauls Justin Lord, who sported a 6-0 record, with two no-decisions against the Saltdogs. Lord, who left the game during the Saltdogs rally in the seventh, picked up his seventh win of the season. Blitstein, who hadnt pitched in a week, suffered his first loss giving up five runs on nine hits.
The Saltdogs will try to rebound on Saturday at 7 p.m. in game two of their three-game series at St. Paul. LHP Lindsay Gulin (7-1, 1.76) will start for Lincoln.