LINCOLN — The Saltdogs (16-13) leaned on strong pitching and timely hitting as they downed the Kansas City T-Bones (13-16) 3-1 in front of 5,263 fans at Haymarket Park Saturday night.
Brad Payne gave Lincoln the lead with a RBI triple to right center in the bottom of the seventh, making it 2-1. The 'Dogs would add another in the seventh on a Stephen Douglas sacrifice fly.
Moises Melendez pitched 6 1/3 strong innings, allowing one run on seven hits while striking out five and walking two to keep the Saltdogs in the game, but did not factor in to the decision.
Lincoln tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth on a Douglas RBI double to right center, plating Yasel Gomez.
Eddie McKiernan (4-1) pitched 2/3 of an inning to pick up the victory. Eric Gonzalez (1-1), went seven innings, surrendering three runs on eight hits to take the loss. R.J. Rodriguez worked a hitless ninth to book his league-leading 10th save.
Kansas City scored its run in the top of the second on a Felix Molina RBI single, after Brandon Jones had doubled to begin the inning.
Douglas finished the night 2-for-2 with two doubles and two RBI. Payne went 2-for-3 with a run and a RBI. Gomez was 2-for-3, stole a base, and scored two runs.
Saltdogs manager Ken Oberkfell was ejected in the top of the fourth inning for arguing a play at second base. It was Oberkfell's first ejection of 2013.
The clubs will play the series finale Sunday evening at 5:05 p.m. Matt Bywater (2-1, 3.47) will make the start against Aaron Tullo (4-0, 6.23). Radio coverage begins at 4:35 p.m. on KFOR 1240.