Phone: 817.739.3693


June 30, 2023

By Dan Vaughan Jr.




 LINCOLN, Neb. – The Lincoln Saltdogs (21-22) changed their name for one night to the Swiftdogs but continued their success against the Sioux City Explorers (21-23), dialing up three long balls and riding the arm of David Holmberg (1-0) to a 6-1 win Friday night.

Playing in front of the largest crowd in team history, of the 8,298 who came to the park with a chance to win tickets to see pop star Taylor Swift, it was Sioux City that looked like they would be the headline act. In the top of the second Holmberg walked Miguel Sierra with one out but would retire Wilfredo Gimenez on a fly ball to left. Jack Kelly would single to left to move Sierra to third, putting runners on the corners. Delvin Zinn then picked up an RBI single to right to score to make it 1-0. Zinn would pick up another hit later in the game, giving him 10 hits against Lincoln this season.

The good vibes did not last long as Lincoln would come back on Solomon Bates (5-4) in the bottom of the inning. Bates would walk Aaron Takacs with two outs and yield a single to Nate Samson to put two on with two outs. Marshall Awtry, the nine-hole hitter, hit a three-run home run just fair down the right field line to erase the Sioux City lead and push Lincoln out in front 3-1.

From there Holmberg would take control, working another four innings and giving up two hits as the X’s could not get the bats going against the veteran lefty and former Big Leaguer. Holmberg, who was signed before the game, joined Lincoln from AAA Mexican club Aguascalientes and worked six innings, holding Sioux City to four hits with two walks and three strikeouts.

Lincoln saved their encore set for the fifth inning when they would launch back-to-back home runs down the right field line to take a 6-1 lead. Awtry would walk, then Conor Panas would hit his seventh homer, and Drew Devine would add his fifth to blow the game open off Bates. The Sioux City ace would finish strong, however, retiring the next six batters to work a total of six innings, giving up six hits and six earned runs. The league leader in strikeouts would punch out five in the loss.

Sioux City would have two more chances to get back in the game in the sixth with two on and two outs, loading the bases with one out in the seventh, but they could not break through. The Swiftdogs turned to lefty closer Stefan Moore in the seventh with the bases loaded and one out to get out of the jam with Sioux City never able to get an encore of their own, falling 6-1 as the Lincoln pen closed the door over the next two frames.

Box Score

The Explorers and Saltdogs play game two of the three-game series Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. The Explorers return home for a seven-game home stand starting Monday July 3 with a first pitch at 7:05 p.m. Tickets for the season can be purchased online at, in person at the Lewis and Clark Park Box Office or by calling 712-277-WINS. You can catch all the X’s action on and on radio at KSCJ 94.9 FM and 1360.