LINCOLN, NE – The Lincoln Saltdogs walked eight batters and allowed the Winnipeg Goldeyes to rally and beat the Saltdogs 5-4 in the playoffs-opener at Haymarket Park.
J.R. Bunda was charged with the loss after allowing the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth inning. Mitchell Lambson earned the win in a relief effort for the Goldeyes while Ryan Chaffee got the save.
The Saltdogs scored in four straight innings. They got their first run on a couple of doubles in the second inning. Randolph Oduber led off the inning with a two-bagger and Dashenko Ricardo hit him in with a two-out line drive to center field.
Brandon Jacobs started the next inning with a walk and the Saltdogs loaded the bases with two singles from the next batters. After a fielder’s choice didn’t score a run, Christian Ibarra drew a walk to make it 2-0. Juan Martinez hit into a double play in the next at bat.
Joe Robbins hit an opposite field home run in the fourth and Curt Smith followed with a solo shot in the fifth to build the advantage to four runs.
Then, Saltdogs starting pitcher Shairon Martis ran out of gas. In the sixth inning, he walked Josh Romanski on a full count and Reggie Abercrombie followed with a double. The next two at bats resulted in a walk and a double to plate two runs. After an intentional walk, Mason Katz drew a bases-loaded walk to tally the third run of the inning. Andrew Sohn launched a sacrifice fly to push across the fourth and tie the game.
The Goldeyes scored the winning run in the eighth. Wes Darvill started the frame with a base hit and moved to second on a bunt. Casey Turgeon chopped an RBI single through the right side to knock in Darvill and give Winnipeg the lead.
The Saltdogs had two runners on in the eighth and had a leadoff hit in the ninth but couldn’t tie it up. Valera was thrown out trying to stretch a single to a double in the ninth.
The teams will play one more game in Lincoln before finishing the series in Winnipeg. The winner of the series faces the winner of the Wichita and Gary SouthShore series for the championship series.
Derek Gordon takes the mound for the Saltdogs on Thursday. First pitch is at 6:45 PM with coverage beginning at 6:15 PM on ESPN 1480 and saltdogs.com.