WINNIPEG, Man. — On a cool, drizzly night that featured an 81-minute rain delay in the third, Marquis Fleming was marvelous on the mound as the Saltdogs (1-1) held off the Winnipeg Goldeyes (1-1) 3-2 to even up the best-of-five semifinal series in front of 3,521 fans at Shaw Park Thursday night.
Fleming (1-0) twirled seven sparkling innings, allowing one run on six hits, striking out four and walking three to provide the Saltdogs with a crucial victory. The 27-year old right-hander was able to overcome a nearly 90-minute break between his turn in the bottom of the second and the bottom of the third due to the rain delay.
Lincoln opened the scoring on a Jeremy Hamilton RBI single in the second, scoring Brian Joynt.
The ‘Dogs then added another on a two-out RBI knock from Matt Forgatch after Tyler Smith doubled to begin the third. An Ian Gac fielder’s choice made it 3-0 Lincoln after five.
Marshall Schuler, the league’s record-setting closer, worked a scoreless ninth to earn his first postseason save.
Jhonny Montoya entered the game in the eighth, with one on and one out, leading 3-2, inducing a groundout and striking out the fearsome Reggie Abercrombie to preserve Lincoln’s lead.
Winnipeg opened its account on a Donnie Webb lead-off homer in the seventh, his second in as many nights. The Goldeyes tallied another in the eighth on a fielder’s choice.
Counting the victory in the All-Star game, Fleming is now 3-0 pitching at Shaw Park in 2014.
The victory was Lincoln’s first in the postseason since clinching the American Association championship in 2009 in Pensacola, Fla.
After a travel day Friday, the series continues Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. from Haymarket Park. LHP Kevin McGovern will square off against LHP Nick Hernandez, who earned A.A. Pitcher of the Year honors. Radio coverage begins at 5:35 p.m. on KFOR 1240.
Tickets are on sale now at www.saltdogs.com/playoff ($5 reserved seat special, online only), by calling 402-474-2255 or stopping by the Haymarket Park box office.