GARY, Ind. — Despite a two-homer night from Dennis Raben, the Saltdogs fell to the Gary SouthShore RailCats 9-8 in 11 innings in front of 4,821 fans in the season opener at U.S. Steel Yard Thursday night.
Walks were the culprit for Lincoln, as they distributed 11 free passes — seven of which came in to score.
Adam Klein hit a soft liner to center field with two outs in the bottom of the 11th to drive in the game-winner for Gary SouthShore off of Saltdogs reliever Eddie McKiernan.
Raben launched a three-run home run in the top of the first to give the 'Dogs an early 4-0 lead. The Miami, Fla. native added another round tripper to pull the 'Dogs even at 8-8 leading off the eighth.
Ian Gac went 3-for-5 with a home run, double, and three RBI in his Lincoln debut. His home run gave the 'Dogs a 7-2 lead in the top of the second.
McKiernan (0-1) allowed a run on two hits, striking out three and walking one, in 1 2/3 innings to take the loss. Ian Durham (1-0) pitched a perfect top of the 11th to pick up the victory.
Saltdogs relievers allowed just two earned runs in 9 1/3 innings of work, highlighted by Stayton Thomas' 2 2/3 innings of scoreless middle relief.
The 'Dogs and RailCats meet again for game two of the four-game series Friday night at 7:10 p.m. Pete Parise (0-0, 0.00) will take the ball for Lincoln against Ari Ronick (0-0, 0.00). Radio coverage begins at 6:35 p.m. on KFOR 1240.