ROSEMONT, IL – The Lincoln Saltdogs (51-48) blasted four home runs over two games and picked up a split of a doubleheader against the Chicago Dogs (45-54) on Sunday.
With their four homers, the Saltdogs passed the 2017 St. Paul Saints and the 2014 Laredo Lemurs to move into fourth place in single-season home runs in American Association history. They need to smack five home runs to tie the 2016 Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks for the third most.
Game One: Saltdogs 3 Dogs 1
The first game resumed at the start of the bottom of the second inning after rain ended play on Saturday night. Saltdogs reliever Eric Wooten was fantastic after taking over for Kyle Kinman. The lefty earned the win by tossing six shutout innings and allowing only four hits. He struck out two batters and did not issue a walk.
Lincoln’s offense got to Dogs reliever Rich Mascheri in the sixth inning. Ivan Marin notched a two-out bunt single to keep the inning alive. Then, Christian Ibarra crushed a home run to make it 2-0. It was his 20th long ball of the season.
Two innings later, Lincoln added to its lead. Dashenko Ricardo walked and Alex Glenn smashed a hard-hit ball to first base. Treysen Vavra could not handle it and the runners reached second and third. Chicago intentionally walked Ibarra to load the bases but then walked Randolph Oduber to send in a run.
Derek Gordon pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the Saltdogs and J.R. Bunda came on for the ninth. The closer gave up a solo homer to Vavra to make it 3-1 but still secured his eighth save of the season.
The win guaranteed that the Saltdogs would finish the season with a winning record.
Game Two: Saltdogs 3 Dogs 6
The home run was the theme for the nightcap. Brandon Jacobs got it started in the second inning. The left field smoked a solo shot over the left field fence to make it 1-0. It was his 22nd homer run, which tied him with Argelis Nunez (2010) for the second most bombs hit in one season in franchise history.
Chicago answered in the bottom of the second inning. Treysen Vavra doubled to start the frame and moved to third base on a bunt. After a walk, Stephen Perez lined a single to right field to tie the game. The Dogs loaded the bases with one out, but Saltdogs starter Austin Robichaux wiggled out of the jam.
Ivan Marin started the third inning with a marathon at bat. The Saltdogs leadoff hitter cranked a solo homer on the 13th pitch of the at bat to take the lead back. It was his third homer of the season.
The lead flipped back over to Chicago in the next half inning. Edwin Arroyo singled and moved to second on an error to start things off. Two batters later, Vavra homered to make it 3-2.
The next scoring came in the sixth inning. Saltdogs first baseman Curt Smith lifted a solo homer off reliever Kaohi Downing to tie the game at 3-3.
Robichaux ran out of gas in the sixth. Mike Falsetti began the inning with a single and Edwin Arroyo doubled two batters later. Lincoln intentionally walked a batter to bring up Vavra with the bases loaded. The righty drew a five-pitch walk to send in the go-ahead run. Lincoln summoned left-handed reliever Trevor Lubking from the bullpen and his first pitch got past the catcher to plate another run. Then, Joe Benson knocked a sacrifice fly to drive in one more and make it 6-3.
Dogs closer shut down Lincoln in the seventh to earn his 14th save.
The Saltdogs and Chicago Dogs will have a rubber game for the final game of the season. First pitch is at 1:05 PM with coverage beginning at 12:35 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM and https://www.espn1480.com/lincoln-saltdogs-baseball/.
For more information on the Saltdogs, follow the team on Facebook and Twitter/Instagram @saltdogsball. For ticket information visit https://saltdogs.com/tickets/ or call (402) 474-2255.