LINCOLN — Eddie McKiernan was fantastic in a spot start, and the Saltdogs (18-13) exploded for eight runs in the sixth to run away with a 10-2 victory over the Sioux City Explorers (13-17) in front of 2,793 fans at Haymarket Park Monday night.
McKiernan (5-1) was named the starter in the late afternoon after the league's strikeout leader Joe Bisenius (who was scheduled to pitch) had his contract purchased by the Atlanta Braves. McKiernan went six strong, allowing just one earned on five hits while striking out eight and walking one to earn the win.
Lincoln busted open a 2-2 tie with eight runs on seven hits in the bottom of the sixth, highlighted by a Daniel Carroll two-run single and a Matt Forgatch two-run double.
Debuting professional Brian Embery went 1-for-4, booking his first hit, run and RBI in the Saltdogs victory.
Stayton Thomas pitched the final three innings, allowing just a hit to earn the save. Josh Rainwater (1-6) allowed six runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings to suffer the loss.
Carroll, David Espinosa, Forgatch, and Sean O'Connell each recorded multi-hit nights.
The Saltdogs have now won seven of their last nine games.
The clubs are back at it Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. for game two of the three-game series. Radio coverage begins at 6:35 p.m. on KFOR 1240.