LINCOLN, NE – Brent Dean hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to carry the Lincoln Saltdogs (55-33) to a 5-4 win over the Sioux City Explorers (40-50) on Friday night at Haymarket Park.
The win broke a three-game losing skid for the Saltdogs and built their lead to five games over Gary SouthShore and Kansas City in the Central Division. It was Lincoln’s sixth straight win over Sioux City.
Fabio Martinez earned the win after tossing a perfect eight inning but it was Saltdogs starter Seth Webster who set the tone. The sidearm pitcher allowed three runs over seven innings while scattering eight hits. He struck out six batters and did not issue a walk. Michael Wagner earned his 20th save.
Sioux City got on the board first. Joel Davis and Tony Campana had back-to-back hits with one out in the third inning. Then, Michael Lang got a single to send home Davis and make it 1-0.
The Saltdogs answered in the bottom half of the inning. Dean singled and Dashenko Ricardo followed with a hit to start it. After a bunt advanced the runners, Cesar Valera ripped a single to score the first run for the ‘Dogs. Next, Curt Smith belted a double to the right-center field to knock in Ricardo. Two batters later, Juan Martinez rounded out the scoring with a sacrifice fly to give the Saltdogs a two-run lead.
The Explorers pulled even in the sixth. Michael Lang doubled to start the inning then Levon Washington pounded a two-run homer to tie it up. It was Washington’s third homer against the Saltdogs this season.
Lincoln pulled ahead for good in the bottom of the eighth. Christian Ibarra singled to start the inning. Two batters later, Dean hit a towering shot to left field to put the Saltdogs in front. It was Dean’s fourth home run in his last six games played.
Sioux City mounted a rally in the ninth but fell short. The X’s scored a run on two hits and a walk but Wagner got Campana to ground out to end the game.
The Saltdogs try to clinch a series win on Saturday night. First pitch is at 6:45 PM with coverage beginning at 6:15 PM on ESPN 1480 and saltdogs.com.
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