LINCOLN — Kevin Howard homered in his return from the disabled list but it wasn't nearly enough as the Laredo Lemurs (20-16) toppled the Saltdogs (16-21) 3-1 in front of 2,719 fans at Haymarket Park Monday night.
Howard's first home run of the season, a towering shot to right center, opened the game's scoring to begin the bottom of the fourth.
Laredo responded immediately in the fifth, capitalizing on a lead-off walk and a hit batsman as J.P. Ramirez doubled in two and Devin Goodwin singled in the third to propel the Lemurs to a 3-1 lead.
Mike Shreves (2-1) pitched five innings, allowing one run on six hits to earn the win. Marquis Fleming (3-3) went six for the 'Dogs, allowing three runs on four hits while walking six and fanning six to take the loss. Chad Povich worked a perfect ninth for his fourth save.
Brian Joynt and Omar Luna each went 2-for-4 for the 'Dogs, who outhit Laredo 10-4 but were caught stealing twice, picked off once and had a runner thrown out at the plate by former big leaguer Denis Phipps in left.
The clubs are back at it Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. for game two of their three-game series. RHP Justin Kuks (1-0, 4.81) will square off against RHP Josh Strawn (3-3, 3.40). Radio coverage begins at 6:35 p.m. on KFOR 1240.
Come out to Haymarket Park Tuesday night at get a Saltdogs T-Shirt courtesy of Nelnet! It's a 2 For Tuesday with 2 For Ticket packages and 2 For Merchandise deals, plus 2 Amigos tacos for $2! Get your tickets now at www.saltdogs.com.