Zhang Tao Leads Texas to 4-1 Win in Lincoln
LINCOLN, Neb. - Zhang Tao turned in his best start of the season, and the Texas AirHogs got back in the win column 4-1 Saturday in Lincoln. The AirHogs will go for a series split tomorrow at 1:05.
The righty from Beijing dazzled for 5.1 innings, allowing just one run on a solo homer by T.J. Bennett in the second. He struck out five and limited the walk total to three in moving to 1-1 on the year.
Stewart Ijames launched his second homer of the series in the first off of Lincoln starter Kyle Kinman (5-3) to put Texas up 1-0. The blast was his tenth of the year.
The team would get to Kinman for another run in the sixth on a one-out RBI by Du Xiaoci to go up 2-1. In the seventh, two-out singles by Correlle Prime and Dillon Thomas vs. reliever Shairon Martis added insurance. All four runs in the game were credited to Kinman, who suffered the loss.
Tyler Matzek entered in relief of Zhang in the sixth and stranded two in scoring position with a pair of strikeouts. He would go on to post a scoreless seventh before giving way to Taylor Wright for a 1-2-3 eighth.
In the ninth, the Saltdogs loaded the bases against Carlos Contreras, who escaped the trouble by inducing a one-out pop up off the bat of Curt Smith before striking out Bennett on a full count offering to end the game and earn his 10th save of 2018.
The AirHogs were led offensively by Thomas, who finished 3 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored. The American Association doubles leader racked up two more to move to 37 on the season. Texas left 10 on the bases. AirHogs pitching helped Lincoln leave 13 for the game. Each team finished with eight hits.
Texas (20-58) will close the series in Lincoln (37-41) at 1:05 tomorrow. RHP Cody White (0-1, 7.88 ERA) is expected to start for Texas vs. RHP Austin Robichaux (2-6, 4.48 ERA) for Lincoln. A live broadcast will be available at mixlr.com/TXAirHogs.
The Texas AirHogs - powered by Beijing Shougang Eagles will return home August 14 vs. Cleburne. Tickets for all home games are available. Visit AirHogsBaseball.com for more information. For the latest news, follow the team on Twitter and Facebook @TXAirHogs.
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