LINCOLN — Ryan O’Sullivan quieted the bats and the back end of the bullpen was lights out as the Saltdogs (39-28) edged the St. Paul Saints (46-22) 3-2 in front of 5,741 fans at Haymarket Park Saturday night.
O’Sullivan pitched seven-plus innings, allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out five and walking two. It was his fourth straight outing allowing two runs or fewer.
After Lincoln tied the game at 1-1 on an unearned run in the fourth, Dainer Moreira came through with a clutch two-out, RBI single to put the ‘Dogs in front in the fifth.
With the game tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth, All Star slugger Curt Smith, in his first game since July 17, hit a sacrifice fly to vault Lincoln in front for good.
Stephen Shackleford (4-2) pitched a perfect eighth inning, inheriting the bases loaded and allowing just one to score to earn the win.
All Star closer Evan Reed fired a perfect ninth for his 16th save in 16 tries.
Mark Hamburger (11-1) threw his sixth complete game, allowing three runs in eight innings, but was tagged with his first loss of the year.
Lincoln’s league-leading pitching staff had been torched for 17 runs over the series’ first two contests.
The Saltdogs go for the series split tomorrow afternoon at 2:05 p.m. RHP Matt Larkins will oppose RHP John Straka.
Radio coverage begins at 1:35 p.m. on KFOR FM 103.3/1240 AM. Online stream starts at 1:30 p.m. on AmericanAssociationBaseball.TV.