LINCOLN — The Saltdogs scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth to come back and edge the Sioux City Explorers 3-2 in front of 5,004 fans on Opening Day at Haymarket Park Wednesday afternoon.
John Alonso drove in the go-ahead run on a single to left field in the last of the eighth after Explorers shortshop Ryan Priddy committed two errors in the inning.
Alonso finished the day 3-for-4 with a solo home run, double and two RBI.
Tommy Palica (1-0) pitched eight innings, allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out five and walking one to earn the win. Richard Salazar (1-1) allowed two earned – three total – on six hits while striking out seven in 7 1/3 innings to suffer the loss. P.J. Zocchi worked a scoreless ninth to record his second save.
Sioux City had the possible tying run in scoring position with one out in the ninth after Kris Sanchez stroked a double to left center before Zocchi closed the door with a strikeout and a fly out.
The Explorers scored their first run on an inside-the-park home run by Michael Lang in the second. Saltdogs right fielder Stephen Holdren lost the ball in the sun and it landed on the warning track, allowing Lang to score standing up without a relay throw to the plate.
The time of the game was a tidy 1 hour, 57 minutes.
The teams meet Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. at Lewis and Clark Park for the finale of the four-game series. Ryan Sheldon (1-0, 3.60) will pitch for the ‘Dogs against Alain Quijano (0-0, 0.00) for the X’s. Radio coverage begins at 6:35 p.m. on KFOR 1240.
Opening Night at Haymarket Park is Friday, May 25 as the Saltdogs battle the New Jersey Jackals, with a fireworks show after the game. For tickets call 402-474-2255 or log onto www.saltdogs.com.