LINCOLN — Mike Gilmartin and Curt Smith swatted long balls but the Sioux City Explorers (45-18) doubled up the Saltdogs (24-39) 6-3 in front of 3,214 fans at Haymarket Park Thursday night.
Matty Johnson slugged a two-out grand slam for the X’s in the fourth, advancing the Sioux City to 5-0. It was just Johnson’s sixth career home run in six professional seasons.
Ryan Zimmerman (9-2) went the distance for the Explorers, allowing three runs on five hits to earn the win. Zach Varce (0-5) allowed five earned in eight hard-fought innings to suffer the loss.
Lincoln is now 0-9 against the Explorers on the campaign.
Zimmerman had allowed just two home runs in 82 innings before Gilmartin got to him in the fifth and Smith belted another in the ninth.
The ‘Dogs look to avoid the sweep Friday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. LHP Kevin McGovern (4-4, 5.10) will face RHP Eric Wordekemper (4-2, 5.14). Online-only coverage begins on kfornow.com at 1 p.m. on State Games of America Day.
Saturday night is a Souvenir Saturday at Haymarket Park, with fans receiving a U.S. Bank 15th Season Hat. Get your tickets now at www.saltdogs.com.