SIOUX CITY, Iowa — After rallying for three runs to take the lead in the ninth, the Saltdogs (22-35) fell to the Sioux City Explorers (40-17) 9-8 in 11 innings in front of 1,475 fans at Lewis and Clark Park Wednesday night.
Trailing 7-5 heading into the ninth, Curt Smith led off the inning with a mammoth home run to left off Explorers closer Jose Flores.
Later in the ninth, Steve Tinoco grounded a ball by the first baseman, scoring pinch runner Billy Bissell to tie the game at 7-7. One batter later, Aaron Payne drove in Mike Gilmartin to give Lincoln a 8-7 lead, it’s first lead since 2-0 in the fifth.
The X’s capitalized on a bleeding single to right and a chopper through the hole off closer Marshall Schuler to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth on a deep sacrifice fly to center.
Lincoln failed to score in the top of the 11th with the free base runner on second (due to the international tiebreaker rule). The X’s sacrificed over their runner before Ino Patron dropped down a bunt on a safety squeeze play that worked as the game-winning hit to complete the series sweep.
The Explorers have taken the first seven of 13 meetings from the ‘Dogs this year.
The Saltdogs committed four errors, two of which led to two unearned runs for Sioux City.
Lincoln continues its week-long road trip Thursday night with the series opener in St. Paul at 7:05 p.m. Radio coverage begins at 6:35 p.m. on KFOR FM 103.3/1240 AM.