DOGS HANG TOUGH BUT EXPLORERS ESCAPE
LINCOLN — The Saltdogs overcame an early three-run deficit but fell just short of duplicating the feat later in the contest as they fell to the Sioux City Explorers 8-6 in front of 3,532 fans at Haymarket Park Saturday night.
After Lincoln tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth on a Blake Gailen bases-loaded walk, the Explorers answered with three runs in the top of the seventh.
The ‘Dogs responded right back in the bottom of the seventh with solo home runs by Phil Hawke, his sixth, and Jorge Cortes, his fifth (and first as a Saltdog) to cut the deficit to 6-5 but couldn’t pull any closer.
Bryan Wilde (1-0) pitched 1 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on two hits to pick up the victory in relief. Alex Maestri (2-4) went six-plus frames, allowing five runs on seven hits to suffer the loss. Eddie De La Cruz worked the final 2 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits to secure his third save.
For the third consecutive night the Saltdogs stranded 12 runners on the bases.
Cortes finished the night 5-for-5 with a home run and two runs scored, matching the team record for hits in a game. The feat was last accomplished by Rafael Alvarez in 2010.
Hawke went 3-for-5 with a homer in his second straight game. Gavin Dickey, Brandon Jones and Robby Alcombrack all added two hits as well as Lincoln outhit the Explorers 15-10.
The teams meet again for the series finale Sunday evening at 5:05 p.m. Lindsay Gulin (1-6, 6.00) is expected to start for the Saltdogs. Radio coverage begins at 4:35 p.m.