LINCOLN, NE – Christian Ibarra scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Lincoln Saltdogs beat the Wichita Wingnuts 6-5 on their second walk-off of the season.
The Haymarket Park magic yielded nine walk-off wins in 2017 and the second walk-off win of 2018 helps Lincoln (4-3) secure a series sweep of the Wichita (2-4). The ‘Dogs have won four straight after starting the season 0-3.
J.R. Bunda earned the win after pitching a perfect ninth inning. Starting pitcher Dimitri Kourtis did his job in his first start of the season. The righty allowed three runs (one earned) over 4.1 innings pitched. Daniel Tillman picked up the loss for the Wingnuts.
Wichita got on the board first. Tony Thomas reached on an Ibarra error to start the second inning. Then, Kourtis walked two batters to load the bases. Center fielder Chad Hinshaw lost a ball in the sun and two runs scored to give the Wingnuts the early lead.
The ‘Nuts tacked on another run in the top of the third. Zach Nehrir reached on a single and scored on a base hit from John Nester.
Lincoln finally got the bats going in the seventh. Brandon Jacobs started the frame with a single then Angel Reyes belted a two-run homer. All three of Reyes’ early-season homers have been in the seventh inning or later.
Reyes came up clutch in the next inning. After Wichita plated two runs to lead 5-2, Reyes tripled down the left field line to knock in two runs. Then, pinch hitter Brant Whiting hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Reyes and tie the game 5-5.
Bunda pitched a perfect ninth to set up the final leg of the comeback. Ibarra drew a walk against Tillman to start the inning. Next, Omar Obregon bunted down the first base line. It bounced off the glove of the first baseman and the catcher fielded it. Nester through the ball wildly to second base and the runners were able to move to second and third. Wichita intentionally walked Chase Simpson to bring up Hinshaw. The 2-2 pitch got past Nester and Ibarra slid in safe to win the game.
The Saltdogs embark on a 10-game road trip on Friday starting in Fargo. First pitch against the RedHawks is at 7:02 PM with coverage beginning at 6:35 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM and saltdogs.com/stream.