LINCOLN SALTDOGS GAME REPORT
Tuesday, July 25, 2006 at Haymarket Park, Lincoln, Neb.
St. Paul (38-28) 000 100 000 1 8 2 / 10 LOB
@ Lincoln (41-25) 004 000 01x 5 8 2 / 3 LOB
WPJeff Blitstein (5-1)
LPMike Meyer (7-6)
SV Scott Vandermeer (2)
LINCOLN WINS ITS FIFTH-STRAIGHT WITH A 5-1 DECISION OVER ST. PAUL
Lincoln made it three wins in a row over St. Paul with a 5-1 win on Tuesday night at Haymarket Park and moved into first place in the American Associations North Division in the process. After starting the second half with an 0-5 record, the Saltdogs have now won five-straight and 10 of their last 13 games to move from the bottom to the top.
Starting pitching was again the key for the Saltdogs who got another stellar outing from Jeff Blitstein. The right-hander out of Parker, Colo., scattered eight hits over 8.1 innings of work while giving up just one walk. He recorded one strikeout and 13 ground ball outs on the night and the only run scored by the Saints was unearned. In his last 15.1 innings, Blitstein has gotten opponents to hit into 29 groundouts and has allowed just three runs.
In beating the Saints on Monday night, the Saltdogs collected 15 hits but only scored four runs. On Tuesday, the Dogs took advantage of opportunities both created and given. In the third inning, Lincoln took control with two timely hits and a couple of St. Paul errors to give Blitstein, who entered the game with a 2.66 ERA, all the support he would need. It was an inning in which the Dogs sent eight batters to the plate and scored four runs. Jay Yaconetti led it off by reaching on an error by the shortstop Brian Sprout. Ryan Priddy followed with an attempted sacrifice bunt that turned out better than the Saltdogs were hoping for. Priddy punched the ball between the pitchers mound and first base and beat the throw to the bag. The ball got loose on the throw putting runners at first and third. After Evan Tartaglia walked to load the bases, Pichi Balet singled to score Yaconetti with the first run of the game. Bryan Warner followed with a bases-loaded double to the left field corner that drove in two runs for a 3-0 lead. Balet moved to third and scored the fourth run on a sacrifice fly by Josh Patton. The Saltdogs added an insurance run in the eight when Balet and Warner singled back-to-back to lead off the inning and Patton delivered another sac fly to score Balet and put the Dogs up, 5-1.
Offensively, Balet, Warner and Patton each recorded two hits on the night. Balet scored twice and Warner and Patton both drove in a pair of runs to lead the Saltdog attack.
St. Paul had numerous chances to score most notably in the fourth inning when they loaded the bases with one out. Pat Scalabrinis RBI single scored Josh Renick, who reached on an error, and the bases remained full, but Blitstein got Jeremy Frost to hit into a double play to end the threat. The Saints loaded the bases again in the eighth but failed to score. In all, St. Paul left 10 runners on base, including two in the ninth. Chris Russ and Scott Vandermeer each pitched to one batter in the final inning to end the game. Vandermeer picked up his second save of the season, both of which have been earned in this series.
The four-game set with St. Paul ends on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. with Lincoln native LHP Brian Rodaway (6-2, 2.66) starting for the Saltdogs.