JOPLIN, Mo. — After a five-run first-inning, the Saltdogs (26-22) held off the Joplin Blasters (14-33) 7-3 in front of 757 fans at Joe Becker Stadium Saturday night.
The victory for Lincoln, its third straight, coupled with a Gary SouthShore extra-inning loss puts it back first place alone in the American Association Central.
Curt Smith slugged a two-out double off the center field wall, sparking a run of six straight Saltdogs hits in the opening frame.
Jon Smith highlighted the two-out rally with a three-run homer to right, his eighth of the year.
Larkins (6-1) pitched eight innings, allowing just two earned while striking out six to earn the win.
Brad Orosey entered with the bases loaded and two out in the ninth to strike out Alex Polston and earn his third save.
Orosey has now stranded all 18 runners he’s inherited on the campaign.
Robby Kuzdale went 2-for-3 with two walks, a double and a run. Pat Kelly went 2-for-4 with a two-out RBI and a stolen base.
For the second straight night, all nine Saltdogs had at least one hit.
Joplin has now lost 13 consecutive contests.
First pitch was delayed 62 minutes due to a tardy-starting pre-game wrestling match.
Lincoln goes for the four-game sweep Sunday evening at 5:05 p.m. RHP Lindsey Caughel is expected to face RHP Alex De La Cruz.
Radio coverage begins at 4:35 p.m. on KFOR FM 103.3/1240 AM.
The ‘Dogs are back home Monday evening at 6:35 p.m. to open a three-game home stand against the Texas AirHogs. Great seats are available at saltdogs.com.