A 4-0 deficit did little to deter the Lincoln Saltdogs’ bats on Sunday evening at Haymarket Park. In fact, it just seemed to inspire them.
After the slow start, the Saltdogs unloaded on the Texas AirHogs’ rotation to the tune of four home runs, including back-to-back homers in the fourth that charged up the dugout and paved the path for a comeback as they rallied past Texas 9-4 to clinch the series.
The win makes it three out of four for Lincoln ahead of a crucial seven-game road trip.
“This was a huge win before we go on the road,” said Curt Smith, who supplied one of the Saltdogs' home runs.
“Texas is in last place; not to say they’re a bad team, but these are the games we have to win. We’re going to play some tough teams on the road with Sioux Falls and Sioux City, but hopefully we can win those series as well.”
Early on it looked as though it wasn’t the Saltdogs' night as the AirHogs tallied four runs over the first three innings on two home runs, including a three-run homer in the top of the first by Jonathan Moroney.
The early deficit did little to stymie the Lincoln offense as Smith and Cody Regis hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth before Regis connected on a three-run home run in the next inning as part of the Saltdogs' five-run fifth inning.
“I struggled earlier in the series after getting back from the road trip and I got a little bit away from my mechanics, but I just told myself to stick with it,” Regis said. “I’m really glad with the results I’ve got out of it.”
After Lincoln took a 7-4 lead after five innings, a two-run home run from Christian Ibarra gave the Saltdogs a five-run lead that put the game to bed.
“We trust all these guys and know that anyone in the lineup can deliver,” Smith said. “If you fail in your first at bat, it’s not a big deal because you know somebody has your back. You know there will be ups-and-downs, but that’s the key to baseball -- take advantage of your opportunities.”
Former Husker Jake Hohensee picked up the win after throwing three innings of scoreless baseball while only allowing one baserunner and striking out three.
The Saltdogs will now make a South Dakota-Iowa road trip where they’ll face the Sioux City Explorers over four games, before traveling to Sioux Falls to take on the Canaries for a three-game set.