LINCOLN, Nebraska – John Brownell struck out a season-high nine hitters over 6.2 innings, and the Saltdogs held off a 9th-inning rally for a 4-3 win over the Texas AirHogs at Haymarket Park on Friday night.
Brownell improved to 3-1 with his second consecutive 6.2-inning start, allowing just two runs on five hits with a pair of walks.
The ‘Dogs carried a 4-2 lead into the 9th before Jose Ortega – on for this third save opportunity in five games – walked a pair of batters and gave up an RBI single to Stewart Ijames. With the bases loaded and two outs, Han Xiao bounced a ball to Sansone at second and was called out after a bang-bang play at first ended the game.
Lincoln opened the scoring with Daniel Herrera’s bases-loaded walk in the 2nd inning, and Ivan Marin followed him up with his second sacrifice fly in as many nights.
Chen Junpeng drove in a run with a two-out single in the 4th before Tyler Moore restored the two-run lead with a sac fly.
The AirHogs scored again on Brett Eibner’s two-out solo homer to left in the 6th, but again the ‘Dogs answered with Moore’s RBI single in the bottom-half.
John Sansone walked twice and scored a pair of runs, while Curt Smith also scored twice. Cameron McVey went 1-2-3 with a pair of strikeouts in the 8th after Austin Boyle struck out the only batter he faced to strand a pair in the 7th.
Cody Regis singled in the 7th to extend his league-best on-base streak to 21 games.
The win gives the ‘Dogs three in a row for the second time this year, and Lincoln now sits a season-best three games over .500. The four-game series continues on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m., and pregame coverage will begin at 6:35 p.m. on ESPN Lincoln 101.5 FM/1480 AM.
The Saltdogs are playing their 19th season in Lincoln. All ticket and promo information can be found at saltdogs.com, and follow the ‘Dogs on Twitter/Instagram @saltdogsball.