LINCOLN, NE – Pitching, defense and the long ball are expected to carry the Lincoln Saltdogs in the 2018 season.

The Saltdogs, coming off of a division championship and the second-highest win total in franchise history, start their 18th season in the capital city on Thursday.  Fans can plan to see much of the same on the field while being kept on the edges of their seats by new promotions and special entertainment.

11 players return from last season to make this year’s Opening Day roster.  Curt Smith, entering his sixth season, headlines the bunch.  The Curacao-native is second in franchise history in career home runs, third in RBIs and third in hits.  Smith is a fan favorite who now makes his home in Lincoln with his wife.

Other returning position players include 2017 team hits leader Cesar Valera, catcher Dashenko Ricardo, outfielder Brandon Jacobs, and infielders Christian Ibarra, Nathaniel Maggio and Ivan Marin.  This core group helped the Saltdogs set a league record with a sparkling .982 fielding percentage last season.

On the mound, the Saltdogs return the team’s 2017 Pitcher of the Year, Derek Gordon.  The younger brother of Royals star Alex Gordon, the right-hander made a name for himself by posting a 9-4 record with a 3.46 ERA a season ago.  Gordon proved his stamina by tossing three complete games including one shutout.

Familiar faces like J.R. Bunda, Dimitri Kourtis and Shairon Martis will also toe the rubber for the ‘Dogs.  The group helped the 2017 pitching staff record a league-best 3.45 ERA last season.

New players that could make major impacts include former First Round pick Tyler Herron, former Omaha Northwest lefty Kyle Kinman, catcher Brant Whiting, utility man Angel Reyes and switch-hitter Chase Simpson.

Off the field, the promotions schedule for 2018 is loaded with fun.  New in 2018 is the $10 Triple Play Deal sponsored by Colonial Life.  Get a Lower Reserved ticket, hot dog and soda for just $10 at every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday Saltdogs home game all season long.

Fans can rejoice in the return of daily favorites like Buck Night (moved to Wednesdays) and Fireworks Fridays.

Special promotions like Jimmy Buffett Night, the Lincoln Media Softball Challenge and Bark in the Park will also attract Lincolnites to Haymarket Park.  To see a full promotional schedule visit:

All the action will once again happen at pristine Haymarket Park.  The field has been chosen as the league’s Field of the Year for 17 straight seasons and the staff has

The Saltdogs will begin their 18th season in Lincoln on Thursday, May 17th with Scott Frost night.  For more information on the Saltdogs, follow the team on Facebook and Twitter/Instagram @saltdogsball.  For ticket information visit or call (402) 474-2255.