LINCOLN — Matt Bywater was magnificent and Ian Gac launched what proved to be the game-winning home run as the Saltdogs (5-5) beat the Winnipeg Goldeyes (8-1) 4-1 in front of 5,120 fans at Haymarket Park Saturday night.
Bywater (1-1) pitched seven innings, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out three and walking zero to earn the win. The 23-year old lefty retired the final 12 Winnipeg hitters he faced.
With the score tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth, Gac blasted a solo home run to center to give Lincoln a 2-1 lead. It was Gac's fourth home run of the season.
After Winnipeg opened the game's scoring on a Tim Smith solo shot in the second, the 'Dogs manufactured a run in the last of the third to draw even.
Pete Gehle (1-1) allowed two runs on six hits in six innings to suffer the loss. R.J. Rodriguez surrendered a lead-off walk in the top of the ninth – the first Lincoln had allowed all night – but responded by striking out the side to collect his fourth save.
Gac finished the night 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI.
P.J. Zocchi pitched a perfect eighth inning, and combined with Bywater to retired 15 consecutive hitters.
The clubs meet again Sunday at 2:05 p.m. for the series finale. Joe Bisenius (1-0, 8.59) will face Alex Capaul (1-0, 0.00). Radio coverage begins at 1:35 p.m. on KFOR 1240.