LINCOLN — After falling behind 4-1, the central division champion Sioux City Explorers (63-21) sprung for five runs in the middle frames to beat the Saltdogs (30-54) 8-6 for the 11th straight time in front of 4,150 fans at Haymarket Park Friday night.
Lincoln battled back with two runs in the eighth but Sioux City tallied an insurance run in the top of the ninth on a pinch hit single from Michael Lang to help secure the series-opening win.
Former Creighton Blue Jay Eric Wordekemper (6-2) allowed four runs in seven innings to notch the win. Debuting pro and former Doane Tiger Brandon Stennis worked the final two innings to pick up the save.
Casey Collins (1-2) yielded five runs – three earned – in four-plus innings to suffer the loss.
Mike Gilmartin went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs, extending his hit streak to eight games. Jeremy Hamilton went 2-for-4 with a run and two RBI, and has now hit safely in six in a row.
Game two of the three-game series is Saturday evening at 6:05 p.m. RHP Jesse Smith will square off against RHP Patrick Johnson. Radio coverage begins at 5:35 p.m. on KFOR FM 103.3/1240 AM.
It’s a Souvenir Saturday with Ameritas Navy Saltdogs Jerseys to the first 1,000 fans (500 youth, 500 adult) through the gates (which open at 5 p.m.). Get your tickets now at www.saltdogs.com.