LINCOLN, NE – T.J. Bennett smacked a two-out game winning double in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Lincoln Saltdogs a 3-2 win in the series finale against the Sioux City Explorers on Sunday.
The Saltdogs (30-29) trailed 2-1 with one out in the bottom of the eighth. Reliever Patrick Schuster came on to face Dan Johnson and walked him. Then, Ryan Flores entered and walked pinch hitter Ivan Marin. After a fly out, Sioux City (43-16) went to the bullpen again to summon lefty Ryan Horstman. Bennett lifted a fly ball over the left fielder’s head to push in two runs give Lincoln the lead.
The victory brought the Saltdogs back over .500 after they fell down to the break-even point for the first time since May 29th. The win broke Lincoln’s season-high-tying three game home losing skid.
The game started in Sioux City’s favor. Luis Durango singled in the first at bat. Then, Michael Lang and Jay Austin each recorded bunt singles to load the bases with no outs. Nate Samson hit into a double play to drive in the first run of the game.
Saltdogs starter Eric Wooten was dominant after the first inning. He struck out seven batters and did not allow a hit over the next five innings. Wooten ran out of steam in the sixth. Durango drove in a run with the second hit of the inning and Wooten hit a batter to load the bases. Reliever J.R. Bunda came on and induced an inning-ending double play to keep it just 2-0.
The Saltdogs offense started to come around in the seventh. Randolph Oduber belted a double down the left field line and scored on a single from Brandon Jacobs to make it 2-1. Oduber extended his hit streak to a season-high 12 games. The Aruban has reached base in all 29 games as a Saltdog.
After Bennett gave Lincoln the lead, Jose Jose shut down the X’s in the ninth. He retired the side in order to notch his seventh save of the season.
The Saltdogs continue to excel in day games. Lincoln is 10-1 in day games, 12-6 in series finales and 7-2 on Sundays.
The Saltdogs are off on Monday before trekking to Kansas City to take on the T-Bones. First pitch on Tuesday is at 7:05 PM with coverage beginning at 6:35 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM and http://www.espn1480.com/lincoln-saltdogs-baseball/.