LINCOLN — Josh Mazzola belted two home runs and drove in five to lead the Winnipeg Goldeyes (13-6) over the Saltdogs (10-11) 12-5 in front of 2,963 fans at Haymarket Park Thursday night.
Lincoln rallied with a Stephen Holdren RBI double and Leivi Ventura two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth to close the gap to 6-4 before Winnipeg struck for five runs in the top of the seventh to pull away and salvage the four-game series split.
Rich Hawkins (1-0) pitched 5 1/3 innings in his professional debut, allowing four runs on five hits to pick up the win. Tony Butler (1-1) gave up two runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings while walking four and striking out two to take the loss.
Mazzola tripled his home run total, nearly doubled his RBI mark and raised his batting average 52 points with the monster night.
Ventura finished 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI, giving him five hits over the last two games.
Alan Rick spanked a solo home run into the Terrace in right center in the bottom of the ninth inning, his first of the year.
The Saltdogs allowed 17 hits, which matched the most of the season given up to an opponent.
Lincoln hosts Sioux City Explorers in the opener of a three-game series Friday night at 7:05 p.m. Kearney product Ryan Sheldon (2-0, 2.70) will toe the slab against Richard Salazar (1-3, 4.33). Radio coverage begins at 6:35 p.m. on KFOR 1240.
Friday night features the Last American Cowboy as part of the Ameritas Entertainment Series as the ‘Dogs host Sioux City. For ticket information call 402-474-2255 or visit www.saltdogs.com.