LINCOLN — Zachary Varce was brilliant, spinning a six-hit shutout as the Saltdogs (35-34) blanked the Grand Prairie AirHogs (31-38) 6-0 in front of 2,883 fans at Haymarket Park Friday night.
Varce (4-6) went the full nine, allowing just six hits while striking out three and walking two on 108 pitches (70 for strikes) to earn the victory. The 25-year old hurler has allowed just nine hits in 15 scoreless innings – with a 2-0 record – during Lincoln's long home stand.
After being stymied the first two times through the order, Lincoln exploded for five runs in the fifth, highlighted by an Ian Gac two-run double and Kevin Howard two-run single in succession.
Mike Gilmartin began the fifth-inning rally by singling on a 1-2 pitch off Ryan Searle.
Brian Joynt whacked an impressive solo home run to left center in the seventh, his seventh of the year.
Gac, Howard and Joynt combined to go 6-for-10 with five RBI on the night.
Varce's shutout was the second six-hitter by a Saltdogs' pitcher in just over two weeks, as LHP Kevin McGovern – who is slated to pitch Saturday – accomplished the feat July 16 at Trois-Rivieres.
The clubs are back at it Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. for the finale of the four-game series and of the 10-game home stand for Lincoln. Radio coverage begins at 6:35 p.m. on KFOR 1240. The first 1,000 fans receive a Saltdogs Portable Power Plug from U.S. Bank. Get your tickets now at www.saltdogs.com.