Lincoln Saltdogs catcher Daniel Herrera had been thinking a long time about Saturday's game against the Gary SouthShore RailCats.
It was John Brownell's 300th career start on the mound, and it was a fitting celebration after Brownell tossed all nine innings in Lincoln's 5-2 victory at Haymarket Park.
“I've been thinking about for weeks since I found out I was going to catch his 300th start,” Herrera said.
“(Brownell) has done some other amazing things this year,” Herrera said. “It's been fun to be behind the plate for all of those.”
The Omaha native already has a career milestone mark of 1,500 strikeouts, and in his last start he tossed his 2,000th career inning. In that start the right-hander allowed just one hit in a 2-0 victory.
“He's actually had the same game plan the entire year,” Herrera said. "We just stuck to that and it's been pretty successful.”
Besides catching Brownell's 300th game, Herrera helped add an insurance run on a fielder's choice in the bottom of the eighth inning and tied the game 2-2 on a sacrifice that turned into an error in the seventh.
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The Saltdogs scored three runs in the seventh, taking a 4-2 lead as fireworks lit up the sky across I-180 during the Nebraska football's Boneyard Bash. Tyler Moore added a sacrifice fly and Christian Ibarra added an RBI single.
“It was a good game, good crowd and fun atmosphere,” Lincoln manager Bobby Brown said. “Took us a little while to get the bats going, but eventually we did. We executed a couple of bunts -- fundamental baseball won us the game today, and we had good starting pitching.”
Defense was also key for the Saltdogs, who did not commit an error in the victory. Lincoln also took advantage of three RailCats errors.
“It's huge, and huge to take advantage of those errors too,” Herrera said. “If they commit those errors and we do nothing, but if we take advantage of them, that's what makes teams win.”
Ibarra and Cody Regis each collected two hits, as the Saltdogs finished with eight.
Former Husker player Christian DeLeon pitched 1 1/3 innings of relief for Gary SouthShore, allowing one hit and one run.
The Saltdogs and RailCats continue the series at 5 p.m. Sunday at Haymarket Park.