LINCOLN — After consecutive two-out, two-run hits in the fourth, the Wichita Wingnuts (56-24) rolled to a 9-6 victory over the Saltdogs (42-37) in front of 2,754 fans at Haymarket Park Monday night.
Wichita capitalized on a hit batsman and back-to-back two-out walks in the decisive frame before cashing in with big hits from Carlo Testa and former Saltdogs' catcher Chris McMurray to take a 7-3 lead.
Jon Link (11-2) pitched six innings, allowing five earned runs with four strikeouts and a walk to pick up the win. Matt Nevarez worked a perfect ninth for his 23rd save.
The Saltdogs battled back from 1-0 and 3-1 deficits, and plated two in the fourth on a Chris Anderson home run before ultimately succumbing to the league's best club.
Zachary Varce (5-7) went six, allowing a season-high eight runs on 11 hits with six strikeouts and a walk to suffer the loss.
Mike Gilmartin went 3-for-4 with two runs and three doubles. Anderson finished 2-for-4 with a home run and three two-out RBI. Jon Gaston blasted a two-run homer in the third, his third of the home stand and eighth of the year.
The clubs are back at it Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. for game two of the three-game series, on Saltdogs Team Baseball Cards Giveaway Night. LHP Kevin McGovern (2-1, 3.10) is slated to face RHP Jason Van Skike (9-3, 3.19). Radio coverage begins at 6:35 p.m. on KFOR 1240. Great seats are still available at www.saltdogs.com.