LINCOLN — Casey Collins was brilliant, and the bats were explosive as the Saltdogs (34-60) trounced the Joplin Blasters (51-43) 8-1 in front of 2,544 fans at Haymarket Park Tuesday night.
Collins (2-2) faced just two batters over the minimum, and lost his shutout on a solo homer with two outs in the ninth in the complete-game victory.
The 24-year old from Glendale, Ariz. allowed just two hits, walked one and struck out five in the first nine-inning complete game by a Saltdogs pitcher this season.
Lincoln also clubbed a season-high three long balls: Brian Joynt went deep to lead off the fourth; C.J. Ziegler blasted a three-run homer later in the inning; Mike Gilmartin blasted a solo shot in the fifth.
The Saltdogs started the party by tallying three runs on four doubles over the first two innings.
Nestor Molina (7-5) allowed seven runs on eight hits in four innings to suffer the loss.
Game two of the four-game series is Wednesday at 11:05 a.m. RHP Jesse Smith is expected to face RHP Josh Evans. Online-only coverage begins at 11 a.m. on www.kfornow.com.