LINCOLN, Neb. | Rookie Justin Vernia shook off a three-run first inning and pitched into the eighth inning to get the win as Sioux City downed Lincoln 6-4 in an American Association baseball game at Haymarket Park Saturday.
The former Gonzaga University product was making his fifth start of the year and gave up three runs in the first inning which was capped by Curt Smith's two-run home run for the Saltdogs.
Sioux City shrugged off the fast Lincoln start and batted around to score six runs in the second inning. Tyler Ogle got a solo home run to lead off the rally and Dre Gleason added a bases-loaded single to score two and give the X's a 6-3 edge.
With the lead, Vernia pitched efficiently the rest of the way, giving up just one more run on a fielder's choice grounder in the second inning to pull Lincoln within 6-4.
Vernia left with two out and two on in the eighth inning in favor of Ryan Flores who got a ground out to end the threat. Flores pitched a perfect ninth inning to register his first save of the year.
Vernia (2-2) gave up eight hits and two walks while fanning six batters.
Lincoln (55-34) saw its Central Division lead drop to four games after second-place Kansas City downed Gary SouthShore 8-0.
The two teams wrap up their season series here Sunday afternoon before the X's return home to start a four-game set with Kansas City Monday. Sioux City (41-50) has split its 12 games this season with the Saltdogs.