LINCOLN, NE – The Lincoln Saltdogs scored four runs over the final three innings to claim a rubber-match win 7-4 over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks on Wednesday night.
Fargo (9-9) power-hitters Keury De La Cruz and Charlie Valerio each came to the plate representing the tying run in the ninth inning. Saltdogs (12-8) closer J.R. Bunda struck out each of the sluggers using seven straight off-speed pitches to get the save and end the game.
The RedHawks pulled ahead to start the contest. Former Saltdogs Randolph Oduber and Tommy Mendonca each notched key singles to make it 3-0.
Lincoln pulled starter Mikey O’Brien after three shaky innings. Dimitri Kourtis earned the win in relief after tossing 3.1 shutout innings and allowing just one hit.
Meanwhile, the Saltdogs offense woke up in the fourth. Chase Simpson walked and Brandon Jacobs single to start the frame. Then, Dashenko Ricardo launched a three-run homer off the roof of the restroom past left field to tie the game.
The Saltdogs took the lead in the sixth with another home run. This time, Brandon Jacobs smoked a solo shot for his seventh homer of the season. The blast was his fifth in the last eight games and ties him for the league lead. The Saltdogs have hit multiple home runs in five straight games.
Lincoln added another run in the seventh. Simpson drew another walk to load the bases with two outs and Jacobs coming to the plate. The left fielder hit a grounder to shortstop and Yhoxian Medina booted it to let a run score and give the Saltdogs a two-run lead.
The game got tighter in the top of the eighth. Oduber cranked a solo homer off Saltdogs reliever Eric Wooten to make it 5-4. It was the first run surrendered by Wooten this season.
The Saltdogs loaded the bases again in the eighth looking for some insurance. Curt Smith hit an opposite-field line drive with two outs to knock in two runs and stretch it to a three-run advantage. RedHawks left fielder Brennan Metzger caught a Jacobs liner on the warning track to end the inning.
Bunda worked around a couple of hits in the ninth to get his fourth save of the season.
The Saltdogs have won three straight series and eight of the last 11 games. They have an off day on Thursday before hosting the Cleburne Railroaders for a three-game series starting Friday night. First pitch is at 7:05 PM and coverage begins at 6:35 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM and saltdogs.com.