SIOUX CITY, Iowa – John Bezdicek pitched five scoreless innings on short rest, and the ‘Dogs clinched their first playoff berth since 2017 with a 10-1 win in the winner-take-all finale against the Sioux City Explorers at Mercy Field on Monday afternoon.
The ‘Dogs won the final three games of the regular season to clinch the postseason and will now play the Kansas City Monarchs in the best-of-3 divisional playoff series starting Wednesday night. Kansas City won the West Division after beating the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks on Monday.
Lincoln took a 4-0 lead in the 1st inning. Ryan Long’s double play scored Justin Byrd to make it 1-0, and after Jason Rogers walked with two outs, Luke Roskam hit an RBI single to make it 2-0. Josh Altmann then added a double and Skyler Weber’s RBI single made it 4-0.
The ‘Dogs added another run on Rayder Ascanio’s RBI single in the 2nd. Lincoln scored twice more in the 5th when Weber added to the lead with a sacrifice fly and Welington Dotel’s RBI triple made it 7-0.
John Bezdicek – pitching on three days’ rest – allowed two hits with two walks and five strikeouts. R.J. Fruere pitched a 1-2-3 6th, Jonathan Cheshire pitched a 1-2-3 7th and Carson Lance pitched a 1-2-3 8th. David Zoz allowed one unearned run in the 9th inning.
The ‘Dogs added to the lead with Hunter Clanin’s two-run homer in the 8th, and Ryan Long then made it 10-0 with an RBI single to score Byrd.
Needing to win all three games to finish the regular season, the ‘Dogs clinched their first playoff berth since winning the Central Division in 2017. The ‘Dogs finished the regular season with eight wins in their last nine games to make the postseason.
Game 1 of the playoffs is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, with Games 2 and 3 (if necessary) are in Kansas City on Friday and Saturday.
The Saltdogs are playing their 21st season in Lincoln! Visit saltdogs.com and follow us @saltdogsball on all social media for information regarding tickets and promotions all season long.