LINCOLN – Randolph Oduber drilled a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the eighth inning to knock in two runs and help the Lincoln Saltdogs (46-25) to a 4-3 comeback win over the Kansas City T-Bones (42-29) on Sunday afternoon.
The Saltdogs had managed just two hit through the first seven innings before they exploded in the eighth. Nathaniel Maggio and Brandon Jacobs reached on back-to-back singles before Tommy Mendonca walked to load the bases. Then, with one out, Oduber fired a low line drive through the right side to score two runs and give the Saltdogs a 4-3 lead.
Saltdogs closer Michael Wagner came on for the ninth inning and walked the first batter he faced. After the next two batters were retired, Chantz Mack single to put runners at first and second base with two outs. Next, a pitch bounced away from catcher Dashenko Ricardo but he recovered it and threw out Mack at first base to end the game.
The game started in the Saltdogs’ favor. Jacobs walked to start the bottom of the second inning and stole second base. Then, Ricardo hit a liner to left field and Jacobs scored with the aid of an error by the left fielder.
The Saltdogs made their lead two runs in the third inning. Curt Smith worked a walk out of an 11 pitch at bat to reach with two outs. During the next at bat, he stole second base and moved to third on a bad throw. Maggio sent him in with a single to make it 2-0.
Kansas City scored all of their runs in the top of the fifth. Jordan Edgerton and Mack notched consecutive one-out singles to get to first and third base. Marcus Lemon knocked Edgerton in with a sacrifice fly in the next at bat. Then, Kevin Keyes and Cedric Hunter collected back-to-back line drives hits to score two more runs and give the T-Bones the 3-2 lead.
Shairon Martis earned a quality start for the Saltdogs by allowing three runs on six hits over six innings. J.R. Bunda improved to a perfect 7-0 by tossing scoreless seventh and eighth innings. Wagner recorded his 15th save, the most of any pitcher in the American Association.
The victory gave the Saltdogs their seventh straight series win. It built their lead to five games over the second place T-Bones.
Smith reached base twice on Sunday, extending his on-base streak to 26 games. Cesar Valera was 0-4 and lost his 29 game streak which had tied Jacobs for the longest of the season.
The win gave manager Bobby Brown his 300th career victory. It was Smith’s 900th career game.
The league-leading Saltdogs head to Wichita for a three-game series starting on Monday. First pitch is at 7:05 PM with coverage beginning at 6:35 PM on ESPN 1480 and saltdogs.com.
The team returns to Lincoln to face the Sioux City Explorers on Thursday, August 10th. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling (402) 474-2255 or visiting Saltdogs.com. For the latest information on the Saltdogs follow the team on Facebook and Twitter/Instagram @saltdogsball.