The Lincoln Saltdogs followed up an impressive 17-hit performance Tuesday by tying their season high of 18 Wednesday in a 13-3 victory over Cleburne at Haymarket Park.
Every Saltdog in the lineup had a hit, with Christian Ibarra, Brandon Jacobs and Curt Smith leading the way with three apiece as the Saltdogs (48-47) moved above .500 for the first time since July 22.
Though the Saltdogs put up 13 runs and 18 hits, Lincoln left only two runners on base.
“Guys are getting themselves in good counts and capitalizing on crooked counts, 2-0, 3-1, and just passing the baton,” Lincoln manager Bobby Brown said. “It's a tough lineup to navigate through when everyone is going good like they are right now.”
Lincoln turned a 4-3 lead into a 13-3 rout with two runs in the fifth inning and seven runs in the seventh, led by four doubles and a home run. Ivan Marin led off the inning with a two-bagger, and Jacobs, T.J. Bennett and Cesar Valera each notched a double before Alex Glenn launched a two-run blast as the Saltdogs batted through the order.
“It just puts a ton of pressure on the opposing team at times with quality at-bats, and the balls are falling down right now,” Brown said. “It's fun.”
Despite being knocked out of the playoff race with Sioux City clinching the American Association South Division crown and Wichita and Kansas City battling for the second playoff spot, Lincoln still has plenty to play for after winning five of its last seven contests.
“We are here to build this thing into a championship organization and we feel like we've had some good ballclubs here,” Brown said. “We want to take this momentum into the offseason and see where that takes us.
“It's always good to play good baseball and we are doing it right now and want to continue that into next year.”
Brad Thoutt moved to 3-1 on the year for the Saltdogs, getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first inning, allowing a run, but he killed the Cleburne momentum by inducing a double play.
Thoutt allowed seven hits and three runs while striking out two.
“(Thoutt) minimized the damage there,” Brown said. “I think it was bases loaded, nobody out and he got the double play and left a guy at third base. That gave our guys some confidence to go out and score some runs early and it was a really outstanding job by Brad in the first. He got into a little bit of trouble but he pitched out of it.”
Lincoln and Cleburne continue the series at 6:45 p.m. Thursday.