SIOUX CITY, IA – Shortstop Nate Samson pulled a two-out pitch down the left field line to complete a Sioux City comeback and seal a 3-2 loss for the Lincoln Saltdogs. The Sioux City (4-2) triumph completed a sweep of the Saltdogs (2-4).
Michael Wagner was the losing pitcher for the Saltdogs after allowing two runs on four hits in two innings of relief. Keith Picht earned the win for the Explorers by pitching two innings of scoreless relief.
Bennett Parry started on the mound for the Saltdogs and appeared to get the second out of the 1st inning with a Jayce Ray fly out. But, first base umpire Andrew Larkin signaled for a balk which erased the out and moved a runner from first to second. Saltdogs manager Bobby Brown was furious and debated the call with Larkin, eventually getting ejected. It was the first ejection of the season for any Saltdogs coach or player.
Two innings later the Saltdogs opened the scoring. Randolph Oduber started the 3rd inning with a single. Then, Curt Smith belted a 1-1 pitch over the left-center field fence for his second home run of the season.
The Saltdogs managed 10 hits through five innings but were only able to get the two runs from the Smith home run. The X’s relief pitchers controlled the Saltdogs bats, giving up just one hit in the final four innings.
Parry cruised through five innings but go into trouble in the sixth. After getting Michael Lang to fly out, Parry surrendered a single to Ray and hit Samson with a pitch. Then he walked John Nogowski to load the bases. Parry struck out fellow left-hander Levon Washington before acting manager Tom Carcione pulled Parry for reliever J.R. Bunda. Bunda worked a full count to X’s catcher Tyler Ogle before issuing a walk to send in Sioux City’s first run of the game.
Wagner entered in the bottom of the 7th and retired the first two batters he faced. Next, Lang and Ray recorded base hits to put two runners on for Samson. The league’s reigning MVP hit a line drive that dribbled to the left field wall allowing both runners to score and giving Sioux City the 3-2 lead.
PJ Francescon struck out two Saltdogs in the 9th inning to earn the save.
The Saltdogs play their first home game of the season on Thursday night at Haymarket Park. The contest against the Cleburne Railroaders starts at 6:45 PM with coverage beginning at 6:15 PM on ESPN 1480 and saltdogs.com.
Tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling (402) 474-2255 or by visiting saltdogs.com. For the latest information on the Saltdogs follow the team on Facebook and Twitter/Instagram @saltdogsball.