Even though Lincoln was being no-hit by Wingnuts right-hander Gabe Medina, the Saltdogs didn't experience pressure Thursday until the eighth inning.
An unearned run in the first inning put Lincoln ahead, and its lead remained in tact until the seventh, when Wichita's Stephen Pearson drove in two with a single.
When Lincoln began to feel the heat again, it responded with two runs off Medina in the eighth, both coming on a home run by Pat Trettle, which propelled the Saltdogs to a 3-2 win at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
A batter before, Medina lost the no-hitter on a slow-hit grounder down the first-base line that turned into a leadoff double for Roberto Alvarez.
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"I just made a bad pitch, that's what it was," Medina said. "I made a bad pitch and they made me pay for it."
Medina allowed a one-out walk in the first inning to Albenis Machado, who stole second base. With two outs, Argelis Nunez hit a groundball to shortstop Josh Horn, and Horn's throw went over the head of Pearson at first base, allowing Machado to score.
Until the decisive eighth, Medina had hardly a blemish after Horn's error. The only other baserunner against him was Phil Hawke, who drew a leadoff walk in the fourth before being erased on a double play. Medina entered the eighth having retired 11 in a row and 18 of 19.
"Gabe was outstanding," Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper said. "I thought he pitched great once again. It's just too bad we couldn't get enough runs for him. We took the lead 2-1, but we had the opportunities to score more than that early on in the game."
Chris Cullen matched Medina nearly pitch-for-pitch, allowing one hit through five innings and two through six before the Wingnuts mounted a rally against him.
Jorge Cortes led off the bottom of the seventh with a single and Jackson Melian followed by drawing a seven-pitch walk. A Mario Delgado groundout moved the runners up and Jeff Christy was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Pearson.
Though Cullen kept the Wingnuts off-balance with off-speed pitches most of the night, Pearson didn't wait to make an adjustment to the slider, swinging at the first pitch and lining it up the middle and giving the Wingnuts a 2-1 lead as Cortes and Melian scored.
"It doesn't matter now," Pearson said of his big hit.
Pearson was involved in the game's next important play. Alvarez's late swing against Medina produced a slice down the first-base line, and Pearson dove for the ball, only to see it bounce above his glove to break up the no-hitter.
"I'd like to think I make that play nine times out of 10," Pearson said. "It bounced or skipped or something. I honestly don't know what happened."
Trettle struck out in his previous two at-bats, and Medina tried to attack his weakness by pitching outside. Medina's 1-1 pitch to Trettle didn't hit his spot, though, and Trettle turned on it for a homer down the left-field line.
"They were working me outside a lot, and lately I haven't been doing well with that pitch," Trettle said. "Luckily I got a pitch on the inside half, and I sat on it."
The Wingnuts didn't get a hit over the final innings, managing just a leadoff walk by Melian in the ninth and striking out four times. They've lost two in a row after an eight-game winning streak, and Medina has taken a loss or no-decision in seven starts in which he's allowed three runs or fewer.
"We just came up short," Medina said. "There's nothing else. I had a good approach, I was throwing the ball well and they got me. That's it."
Dickey cf4000Horn ss4010
Machado 2b3100Patterson cf4000
Hawke 1b2000Cortes rf4110
Nunez lf3000Melian lf1100
Camacho dh4000Delgado dh4000
Alvarez rf4111Christy c3000
Trettel c4112Pearson 1b4012
Jones 3b3000Bell 3b3000
Albitz ss3010Ruiz 2b3010
Totals 30 3 3 3Totals 30o2o4o2
Lincoln100 000 020 — 3 Wichita000 000 200 — 2
E—Horn (11). LOB — Lincoln 4, Wichita 5. DP—Lincoln 1, Wichita 1. 2B — Albitz (1). HR — Trettel (3). SB — Machado (6), Horn (10), Melian (2).
Cullen (W, 2-2) 742224
Thompson (S, 17) 100011
Medina (L, 3-5) 833228
HBP—Nunez (by Pease), Christy (by Cullen). T — 2:21. A — 2,467.