LINCOLN – The Lincoln Saltdogs (37-22) scored four runs on four hits in the bottom of the ninth inning to come back and beat the Wichita Wingnuts (38-21) 4-3 for their eighth walk-off win of the season.
Joe Robbins hit a two-out single through the left side of the infield to score pinch-runner Ivan Marin for the game-tying run. Then, Robbins stole second base two pitches later to get in scoring position. Dashenko Ricardo, the Saltdogs All-Star catcher, rifled a ball to right-center field that bounced off the diving Richard Prigatano’s glove to send Robbins home for the game-winning run.
Cesar Valera started the rally with a base hit off of Wingnuts closer Seth Harvey. Then, Curt Smith walked to bring the tying run to the plate. Brandon Jacobs hit a deep fly ball that was caught on the warning track in the following at bat. Next, Nathaniel Maggio doubled in both runners to make it a one-run game. Marin pinch ran for Maggio.
The Saltdogs comeback came after losing starting pitcher Seth Webster after the first inning. The right-hander allowed two runs on four hits before being removed with a shoulder injury before the second inning.
Dimitri Kourtis came on in the second inning to replace Webster and was marvelous in relief. The rookie tossed four innings and allowed just one run on four hits. He struck out a season-high six batters and did not issue a walk.
Fabio Martinez, Leuris Gomez and J.R. Bunda combined to pitch four scoreless innings to give Lincoln a chance in the ninth. Bunda earned the win to move to 6-0 on the season. Saltdogs pitchers combined to strike out 12 batters on the night while not walking one.
The Wingnuts scored two runs in the first inning and one in the fourth. They tallied 12 hits on the night but they were all singles.
The ninth inning comeback spoiled a sparkling effort by Wingnuts starter Alex Boshers. The righty went seven shutout innings and surrendered just five hits. He struck out four batters and didn’t issue a walk.
The Saltdogs, who lost at KC on Thursday to snap a nine-game winning streak, have won eight straight home games. Valera extended his on-base streak to 18 games. Smith lost his 13-game hit streak but extended his on-base streak to 14 games.
The Saltdogs go for a series-clinching win over the Wingnuts on Saturday night. First pitch is at 6:45 PM with coverage beginning at 6:15 PM on ESPN 1480 and saltdogs.com.
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