LINCOLN, NE – The Sioux City Explorers scored three runs in the top of the 9th inning to beat the Lincoln Saltdogs 7-4 and spoil Opening Night at Haymarket Park.
Nebraska Head Football Coach Scott Frost threw out the first pitch – he got it to the catcher in the air but a bit outside – and the first 1,500 fans received Frost Saltdogs jerseys. The crowd of 4,573 people welcomed in the season with perfect 84-degree weather.
The game started in the Saltdogs (0-1) favor. Ivan Marin drew a walk in the second at bat of the bottom of the first inning. Then, Nathaniel Maggio smoked a double down the right field line to score Marin.
The X’s (1-0) claimed their first lead in the top of the second. Nate Samson led off with a single and Nelson Ward followed with a double. Three batters later, Dylan Kelly knocked in two runs with a two-out single to make it 2-1.
Lincoln tied it back up in the next half inning. Chase Simpson started the frame with a single, Angel Reyes followed with a walk and Christian Ibarra continued the streak with an RBI single. Reyes and Ibarra combined to make a base running gaffe in which both players were tagged out near second base, effectively ending any further threat.
Sioux City grabbed the lead back in the top of the fourth inning. Ward opened the inning with a triple before Jay Baum knocked one out of the park to make it 4-2.
The Saltdogs drew back even in the bottom of the eighth inning. Chase Simpson got aboard with a one-out single. Next, Angel Reyes smacked an opposite-field home run to tie the game at 4-4.
The tie was short-lived as Sioux City scored three runs on three hits off of Lincoln closer Shairon Martis to grab the 7-4 advantage. The Saltdogs drew a walk but couldn’t muster a comeback in the bottom of the ninth.
Eric Karch earned the win for Sioux City and Geoff Broussard picked up the save. Shairon Martis was charged with the loss for the Saltdogs.
Derek Gordon allowed four runs on 10 hits in his 5.2-inning start. He struck out five batters and didn’t issue a walk.
The Saltdogs take on Sioux City in game two of the series on Friday at 7:05 PM. It is Fireworks Friday and former First Rounder Tyler Herron takes the hill for the ‘Dogs.