Veteran pitcher Herron leads Lincoln past RedHawks in his return to Newman
FARGO—Right-handed starter Tyler Herron was in a familiar spot Sunday afternoon, toeing the rubber at Newman Outdoor Field.
Herron, however, was in an unfamiliar uniform.
The veteran pitched into the seventh inning to help lead the Lincoln Saltdogs to a 9-4 victory against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks in American Association baseball before 2,173 fans.
Herron was pitching as a visitor for the first time at Newman. He played for the RedHawks in 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
"I was kind of nervous for the first two innings," Herron said. "I just didn't feel like myself. I made the adjustment, calmed down. ... It was great to pitch here. I love the fans here. I love the RedHawks. They've been good to me. It's weird sitting here on the other side."
Herron pitched 6 ⅔ innings, allowing three runs on eight hits. He struck out two and walked two. The RedHawks scored single rungs in the first, second and seventh innings off Herron, who left the game with a 7-3 lead. He threw 98 pitches, including 65 strikes.
"It's definitely weird. Ty has been a big part of the RedHawks," RedHawks manager Michael Schlact said. "You know what he's got. He executed pitches all day long. He had a game plan. He knew some of our guys and he did his job."
The Saltdogs played long ball to overpower the RedHawks. Lincoln belted two-run home runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings off RedHawks starter Trey McNutt.
Lincoln left fielder Brandon Jacobs cracked a two-run homer in the fourth that gave the Saltdogs a 4-2 lead, one they never relinquished.
Saltdogs right fielder Angel Reyes had a big day with a pair of two-run home runs. The second one gave the Saltdogs a 6-2 lead in the fifth. Reyes finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs and also scored four runs.
"You tip your cap to Ty and Lincoln is a tough team," Schlact said. "They are going to swing the back and if you don't locate your fastball they are going to make you pay for it."
McNutt pitched five innings and allowed six runs on seven hits. The right-hander struck out eight batters and walked two. Schlact said McNutt returned home after his previous start after his grandma died. McNutt returned to the team late Saturday prior to Sunday's start.
"He just got back late last night," Schlact said. "He's had a long week. ... He's a gamer. He wanted to be out there. He wanted to compete for his team."
The RedHawks took a 2-0 lead in the second inning after Joe DeLuca scored on a Devan Ahart sacrifice fly. Ahart led off the home half of the first inning with a walk and later scored on a Tommy Mendonca RBI single that gave the RedHawks a 1-0 lead.
Ahart added a solo home run off Herron in the seventh inning, cutting the Lincoln lead to 7-3. Ahart finished 1-for-3 with two RBIs and also scored two runs.
"Ahart got me for a home run," Herron said of his former teammate. "I won't hear the end of that."
RedHawks left fielder Brennan Metzger went 4-for-5, while Mendonca added two hits and an RBI. F-M (5-4) next plays the Sioux Falls Canaries at 6 p.m. at Newman Outdoor Field. The RedHawks had a two-game winning streak snapped Sunday.
"There is a lot of resiliency in this club," Schlact said. "That's what I love about them. ... What we're seeing is gritty, resiliency. If I could put a word on it that's what it would be because these guys are never quitting. We're not going to let any type of adversity get at us."