SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — After leading comfortably the whole way, things got dicey in the last of the ninth but the Saltdogs (28-22) hung on for a 6-2 victory over the Sioux Falls Canaries (18-32) in front of a capacity crowd of 4,670 fans at The Birdcage Monday night.
Lincoln was ahead 6-0 heading to the bottom of the ninth before an error allowed two runs to come in. The 'Dogs ended the game on a strike out-throw out double play.
Stephen Bougher (2-1) pitched five innings, allowing no runs on three hits while walking six and striking out one to pick up the win. Adam Champion (3-5) gave up four runs on six hits in six innings to suffer the loss. R.J. Rodriguez booked the final two outs to earn his 19th save.
The Saltdogs struck early with four runs in the top of the first, highlighted by a Matt Forgatch three-run homer, his third of the year.
Sioux Falls stranded 16 runners on base, including 15 in the middle seven innings.
With Lincoln leading 4-0 and the bases loaded for Sioux Falls in the bottom of the fifth, Bougher struck out Nate Baumann to end the threat. Stayton Thomas did the same of Anthony Trajano in the last of the seventh.
The Saltdogs are on pace for 56 wins, which would be their highest total since the 2007 season.
The clubs are back at it Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. for the series finale. Matt Bywater (2-2, 3.67) will face Kyle Ruwe (4-5, 4.57). Radio coverage begins at 6:35 p.m. on KFOR 1240.