LINCOLN — Jon Smith hit a pinch-hit, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to give the Saltdogs (41-37) a 5-4 victory over the Sioux City Explorers (41-38) in front of 5,018 fans at Haymarket Park Saturday night.
The blast, which led off the bottom of the ninth, puts Lincoln back atop the Central division, 1/2 game ahead of the Explorers.
Sioux City threatened to take their first lead in the top of the ninth, but Tyler Urps made a great play to throw out a runner at the plate and Evan Reed induced a check-swing strike out to strand the bases loaded.
Lincoln extended its lead from 2-1 to 4-1 with back-to-back two-out RBI hits from Brandon Jacobs and Curt Smith in the seventh.
The Explorers tied the game on a three-run double from LeVon Washington in the eighth.
Curt Smith went 3-for-4 with three RBI and Jacobs went 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI.
The game-winning homer for Jon Smith, his 10th of the year, gave Lincoln its third walk-off victory of the season.
Lindsey Caughel pitched terrifically, allowing just a run over seven innings, striking out five and walking one.
Lincoln snaps a season-long seven-game losing streak.
Urps went 1-for-3 to extend his hit streak to 10 games.
Saltdogs manager Bobby Brown was ejected in the top of the ninth inning for arguing balls and strikes.
Sioux City pitching coach Bobby Post was tossed in the middle of the ninth for arguing Colwell’s inning-ending strikeout.
The ‘Dogs go for the series split in the home stand finale Sunday evening at 5:05 p.m. RHP Matt Shepherd is expected to face LHP Cody Forsythe. Radio coverage begins at 4:35 p.m. on KFOR FM 103.3/1240 AM.