LINCOLN — Austin Darby doubled twice in his professional debut. Jon Smith and Rene Leveret each homered but the Saltdogs (9-9) fell to the Sioux Falls Canaries (9-9) 5-3 in front of 2,475 fans at Haymarket Park Monday night.
The Canaries got two home runs from David Bergin to build a 5-0 lead through seven.
Smith belted a homer to right center to lead off the eighth. Following a Darby double to left, a single and two walks, Curt Smith walked with the bases loaded to make it 5-2.
The Saltdogs stranded the bases loaded in the eighth. But Leveret led off the ninth with a home run to left center. With two outs, Darby doubled to right but was stranded as the game ended on a line out.
Shawn Blackwell (2-1) pitched 7 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits while fanning five and walking two to earn the win.
Ryan O’Sullivan (0-1) pitched five, allowing three runs in his return from the disabled list.
Jimmer Kennedy allowed a run in the ninth but notched his first save.
Darby, a four-year starting outfielder for the Cornhuskers, went 2-for-4 with two doubles and a run in his first game as a professional after being activated prior to the game.
The series continues Tuesday night at 6:35 p.m. RHP Lindsey Caughel is expected to face LHP Joe Bircher. Radio coverage begins at 6:05 p.m. on KFOR FM 103.3/1240 AM.
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