LINCOLN — John Straka struck out nine over eight shutout innings as the Sioux City Explorers (44-18) beat the Saltdogs (24-38) 3-0 in front of 3,100 fans at Haymarket Park Wednesday night.
Straka (8-1) thoroughly dominated in the series opener, not allowing a runner past second base to earn the victory.
After Brock Kjeldgaard drew a one-out walk in the seventh and was grounded to second, Ryan Court roped an 2-0 pitch down the left field line for an RBI double to make it 1-0. Tommy Mendonca followed with a ground ball through the right side for the second Sioux City run.
Ryan Strufing (0-2) pitched terrifically in a losing effort, allowing just a pair of two-out runs in the top of the seventh inning.
The Explorers are now 8-0 against the Saltdogs in 2015.
Conor Spink yielded a two-out run in the eighth, the first earn run the Lincoln lefty has allowed since July 3.
Game two of the three-game series is Thursday night at 6:35 p.m. Radio coverage begins at 6:05 p.m. on KFOR FM 103.3/1240 AM.
Get your tickets for #ThirstyThursday featuring Pepsi products and beer specials beginning at $1 at www.saltdogs.com.