LINCOLN — Stephen Bougher was brilliant, and Ian Gac hit a birthday homer as the Saltdogs (43-37) dispatched the Gary SouthShore RailCats (46-33) 4-1 in front of 3,463 fans at Haymarket Park Saturday night.
Bougher (3-6) pitched eight innings, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out four and walking one to earn the victory. The 22-year old from Papillion did not let a run to cross until the eighth, at one point retiring 13 consecutive Gary hitters.
Lincoln took the lead with three runs in the bottom of the third, capitalizing on first baseman Reid Fronk's fielding error. Gac added to the lead with a mammoth solo home run in the seventh, his 15th of the season, on his 28th birthday.
R.J. Rodriguez worked a hitless ninth to book his 27th save, three shy of matching the American Association record.
The Saltdogs clinched the weekend series and pulled to within 3 1/2 games of the wildcard lead.
Lincoln goes for the sweep Sunday evening at 5:05 p.m. In a battle of aces, Pete Parise (9-5, 3.63) will take on Alain Quijano (10-5, 3.80). Radio coverage begins at 4:35 p.m. on KFOR 1240. Gates open at 3:30 p.m. for the Lincoln City Libraries Summer Reading Program Recognition event.