Coe Sets Franchise Strikeout Mark, But Offense Whiffs On Chances, Lose 4-0ST. PAUL, MN August 27, 2016
Robert Coe was on top of his game Saturday night at Haymarket Park. With his fifth strikeout of the night in the third inning he surpassed Charlie Ruud’s (2005-09) franchise record for most career strikeouts with 319. Unfortunately, the offense went 0-8 with runners in scoring position and were blanked by the Lincoln Saltdogs 4-0. The loss drops the Saints to 57-35 on the season and their lead in the North Division is down to 3.0 games with eight games remaining
Coe came out of the gates with a good fastball and a sharp slider. He retired the side in order in the first and struck out a pair. In the second, he struck out the leadoff hitter Brandon Jacobs, but with two outs Cesar Valera reached on an error by firstbaseman David Bergin. Jon Smith singled him to third, but Coe got Juan Martinez to strikeout to end the inning and tie Ruud’s franchise mark at 318.
It didn’t take Coe long to break the record as he struck out Ryan Wiggins to start the third inning. On a 2-2 slider in the dirt Wiggins swung and missed putting Coe’s name at the top of the strikeout list in Saints history.
In the fourth the Saltdogs got on the board when Valera singled to center with one out. With two outs Martinez doubled to left-center scoring Martinez to make it 1-0.
In the sixth Austin Gallagher led off with a single to center and Valera walked. The walk was Coe’s 65th of the season, surpassing Kevin Foster’s (2003) single-season record of 64. Jon Smith then hit a hard liner to center for a base hit, but as Alonzo Harris charged to try and come up throwing to home, he had the ball skip by him all the way to the wall and the two runners scored plus the hitter Smith to make it 4-0. Coe went 6.0 innings allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits while walking three and striking out seven.
The Saints had three different innings to score with runners in scoring position and less than two outs. In the first Harris led off the game with a single to left. On a 2-2 count, Harris took off and the shortstop went to cover, but Ryan Cavan grounded one to the spot the shortstop had been for a base hit with Harris taking third. Former Major Leaguer Shairon Martis, however, would strike out Tony Thomas, Bergin and Nate Hanson to end the inning.
In the sixth the Saints loaded the bases with nobody out. Harris led off with a double to left. Cavan walked to put runners at first and second. Thomas laid down a bunt on the third base side. Martis picked it up and in his attempt to throw the ball to third, dropped it and everyone was safe. Martis, however, would strike out Bergin looking on a 3-2 slider. Hanson would foul out to the shortstop and Vinny DiFazio flew out to center to end the inning. Martis went 7.0 shutout innings allowing four hits while walking two and striking out nine.
The last chance for the Saints to score came in the eighth as Harris led off against reliever J.R. Bunda with a single. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on Cavan’s groundout. Thomas walked, but with runners at the corners and one out Bergin popped out to second and Hanson flew out to center. The Saints finished the night 0-5 with a runner at third and less than two outs. It was the second time the Saints have been shutout this season.
The same two teams meet in the finale of the three game series on Sunday evening at 5:05 p.m. at Haymarket Park. The Saints send LHP Corey Williams (1-2, 5.06) to the mound against the league’s top pitcher Lindsey Caughel (6-3, 2.03). The game can be heard on Club 1220 KLBB.