WICHITA, Kan. — The top four hitters came up huge and Conor Spink provided magnificent middle relief as the Saltdogs (7-14) held off the Wichita Wingnuts (13-7) 7-6 in front of 4,594 fans at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium Friday night.
Lincoln tied the game at 5-5 on a Mitch Canham seventh-inning single on the heels of an Eddie Young hustle-double and took the lead with two unearned runs in the eighth after a Daniel Carela throwing error.
With one out and a runner on third in the bottom of the seventh, Jon Gaston made a running catch on a John Nester fly ball in shallow right center field, planted and threw out the tagging-up Joash Brodin at the plate it what may have been the play of the game.
Wichita loaded the bases with no out in the bottom of the eighth. Following a sacrifice fly, Jayce Ray was picked off first base followed by a fly out and the Saltdogs escaped with a 7-6 lead.
Zach Arneson pitched a perfect ninth to register his third save of the year. Spink (1-1) threw 2 2/3 shutout innings of middle relief, striking out two and walking two to earn the win. Daniel Bennett (0-1) allowed two unearned runs in one-plus inning to wear the loss.
C.J. Ziegler went 4-for-5 with a double and a pair of two-out RBI singles. Young finished 2-for-4 with a double, walk and three runs. Canham went 3-for-4 with a double, walk and RBI.
Gaston launched his league-leading sixth home run of the season, an impressive two-run shot in the third inning to extend his hit streak to 13 games.
Wichita drew nine walks in the game and reached with their lead-off hitter in each of the first eight innings, scoring in three.
The clubs are back at it Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. for game three of the four-game series. RHP Jesse Smith (1-2, 3.60) will be on the hill against LHP Anthony Capra (1-2, 4.30). Radio coverage begins at 6:35 p.m. on KFOR 1240.