LINCOLN — Jeremy Hamilton delivered a two-out, walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth as the Saltdogs (22-31) edged the Kansas City T-Bones (28-20) 1-0 in front of 5,490 fans at Haymarket Park Friday night.
Kansas City pitching had retired 14 in a row heading into the ninth before Matt Forgatch led off the inning with a looping single to center field.
After a botched sacrifice bunt attempt and a ground out, Curt Smith was hit by a pitch. A passed ball set up two men in scoring position before Hamilton’s clutch hit to right field, which provided the Saltdogs’ their third walk-off victory of the home stand (second by a 1-0 score) and fifth of the year.
Marshall Schuler (1-0) worked a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts to get the win. Fernando Hernandez (2-3) yielded the run on two hits in 2/3 of an inning to suffer the loss.
Zach Varce was magnificent for the Saltdogs, pitching 7 2/3 innings, allowing just six hits and a walk while striking out eight.
Conor Spink entered from the bullpen with the bases loaded and two down in the top of the eighth and induced a soft one-hopper to second base from Kansas City clean-up man Adam Bailey.
Spink has stranded 11 of the 14 runners (78.6%) he has inherited on the year.
The ‘Dogs go for the series split Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. in the home stand finale. LHP Kevin McGovern (3-3, 4.13) will face LHP Kris Regas (3-3, 5.17). Radio coverage begins at 5:35 p.m. on KFOR.
Saturday is the 4th Annual Haymarket Park Beer Fest (www.haymarkparkbeerfest.com) and #SouvenirSaturday, featuring a Crete Carrier 15th Season Baseball Giveaway! Get your tickets now at www.saltdogs.com.