LINCOLN — Trevor Harden was brilliant against his former club, going the distance as the Grand Prairie AirHogs (30-37) downed the Saltdogs (34-33) 5-1 in front of 2,948 fans at Haymarket Park Wednesday night.
Harden (6-2) pitched all nine innings for the second time this year, allowing just one unearned run on five hits, in a 135-pitch victory.
Lincoln opened the game's scoring in the second inning, when Brandon Pinckney doubled down the left field line and came home on a passed ball.
The 'Hogs struck for four runs in the fourth inning, capped off by a Jason Botts three-run homer to right center on a 3-0 pitch from Justin Kuks.
Kuks (4-3) tossed eight innings, allowing five runs on seven hits while striking out seven and walking one to absorb the loss. After winning his first four decisions, Kuks has now lost three straight.
Ian Gac went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk, and the All-Star first baseman is now 13-for-25 on the current home stand.
Harden finished the 2013 season as a reliever for the Saltdogs.
The clubs are back at it Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. for game two of the four-game series. RHP Nick Green (2-4, 5.20) is scheduled to pitch against RHP Jason Jarvis (5-1, 3.86). Radio coverage begins at 6:35 p.m. on KFOR 1240.
Thursday night is "Thirsty Thursday" featuring $1 Busch Light cans in the Home Run Terrace. It's also "Used Car Night" sponsored by Winner’s Circle Auto. We will get giving away 2 used cars that night to a couple of lucky fans. Great seats are still available at www.saltdogs.com.