Ian Gac made a big splash in his return, Travis Parker was outstanding in a spot start, and the Saltdogs (33-27) manufactured a crucial run in the ninth for a 6-5 victory over the Wichita Wingnuts (41-19) in front of 3,512 fans at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium Friday night.
Lincoln took a 5-0 lead to the bottom of the eighth, then John Rodriguez hit a mammoth two-run homer to center to open Wichita’s account, making it 5-2.
Sean O’Connell drew a lead-off walk in the ninth, Jeff Squier laid down a sacrifice bunt, then Mike Coles hit a ground-ball single to center to give the Saltdogs a huge insurance run.
Rodriguez banged a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to make the score 6-5 before R.J. Rodriguez entered to record the final two outs and earn his 22nd save.
Travis Parker (1-0) pitched five shutout innings, allowing just three hits in a spot start to earn the victory. Junior Guerra (6-2) went seven, allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out five and walking two to suffer the loss.
Gac, in his first game since June 8 due to a broken hand, went 2-for-5 with a home run and two runs scored as the Lincoln clean-up hitter.
The victory snapped a 13-game win streak for the Wingnuts.
The clubs are back at it Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. for game three of a four-game series. Pete Parise (6-4, 2.90) will face Anthony Capra (3-1, 4.20).