LINCOLN — The Saltdogs (47-44) mounted an impressive comeback attempt but they could not overcome a defensive catastrophe of a fifth in a 10-7 loss to the St. Paul Saints (47-43) in front of a season-high crowd of 6,388 fans.
The fateful frame began with a single and a hit batsman after starter Zachary Varce had thrown four shutout innings. A poor throw on a sacrifice bunt and a dropped chopper opened the door for an eight-run St. Paul fifth, just two of which were earned.
Trailing 10-1 mid sixth, the Saltdogs rallied for three in the sixth, highlighted by a Matt Forgatch two-out, two-strike, two-run homer to right.
Lincoln then scored two in the eighth and one in the ninth before the game ended on a strikeout with the bases loaded.
Anthony Claggett (6-6) pitched seven innings, allowing four runs on six hits to get the win. Varce (5-9) allowed eight runs, two earned in five innings to suffer the loss. Mike Meyer pitch 1/3 of an inning to notch the save.
Forgatch finished 3-for-4 with a home run, his ninth, four RBI a walk and a stolen base, his 32nd.
Jhonny Montoya and Trey Barham combined to throw three scoreless in relief to keep the Saltdogs in the game.
Depending on the result of the nightcap from Gary, Lincoln will either be one or two games back with nine to play.
The series continues Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. with LHP Kevin McGovern (3-2, 3.19) on the hill against RHP Ben Hughes (4-2, 4.89). Radio coverage begins at 6:35 p.m. on KFOR 1240.
Come out to the ballpark Saturday night as everyone’s favorite nerd Myron Noodleman will be there to entertain the crowd! Great seats still available at www.saltdogs.com.