LINCOLN — After battling back to tie the game in the eighth, the Saltdogs (34-34) allowed three in the ninth in a 6-3 defeat to the Grand Prairie AirHogs (31-37) in front of 2,716 fans at Haymarket Park Thursday night.
Kevin Howard, in his first game since July 11 (hamstring), doubled in two runs with two out to even the score at 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth.
With two down in the ninth, Grand Prairie's All-Star third baseman Abel Nieves drilled a solo home run to right field to give the AirHogs a 4-3 lead. Grand Prairie added two more on consecutive hits by Jason Botts and Brian Myrow, and a two-run double from Vince DiFazio.
Jason Jarvis (7-4) pitched eight innings, allowing three runs on eight hits to earn the win. Marshall Schuler (3-5) allowed three runs to take the loss in relief. Dakota Watts worked a perfect ninth for his 17th save.
Grand Prairie took a 1-0 lead in the second on a Frazier Hall double before Lincoln quickly drew even on a Mike Gilmartin sacrifice fly.
Howard finished the night 2-for-4 with two doubles, a run and two RBI.
After winning four in a row for the first time in 2014, the 'Dogs have now dropped four of their last five.
The clubs are back at it Friday night at 7:05 p.m. for game three of the four-game set. RHP Zachary Varce (3-6, 3.87) is scheduled to face RHP Ryan Searle (4-6, 4.48). Radio coverage begins at 6:35 p.m. on KFOR 1240.