LINCOLN – Cesar Valera smacked a bases loaded and two outs single up the middle to give the Saltdogs their first lead of the game in the eighth inning. Michael Wagner came on to notch his fifth save and give the Saltdogs (20-10) the 7-4 win over the Winnipeg Goldeyes (17-13) in game one of a three game series.
The game started in the Goldeyes’ favor. David Bergin recorded a two-out single against Saltdogs starter Seth Webster to bring up Reggie Abercrombie. The American Association’s career home runs leader knocked a 1-2 pitch over the center field fence to give Winnipeg the 2-0 lead. It was just the second homer allowed by Webster on the season.
The Saltdogs got one run back in the bottom of the first inning. Matty Johnson started the frame with a single and stole second base. Curt Smith came up after a Valera base hit moved Johnson to third. Smith hit a fielder’s choice grounder to score Johnson and make it 2-1.
Lincoln appeared poised to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. Dashenko Ricardo reached with a two-out single and moved to second on an error. Then, Ivan Marin hit a line drive to the left-center field gap that looked like it would score Ricardo. But, Abercrombie dove and caught the ball just before it hit the ground to end the inning.
Winnipeg extended their lead in the top of the seventh inning. Andrew Frazier tallied his first professional hit for a double and Andrew Sohn followed with a walk. Then, Josh Romanski worked a full count before ripping an RBI single to right field to make it 3-1.
The Saltdogs fortunes changed in the bottom of the seventh. Ricardo reached on an error and Marin followed with a single to start the frame. Next, Matty Johnson executed a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. Brandon Jacobs followed with a single to plate both runners and tie the game 3-3.
The Goldeyes regained the lead in the eighth inning. Abercrombie started it with a double and Shawn Pleffner singled him in the next at bat to give Winnipeg the one run advantage.
The Saltdogs’ comeback came in the bottom of the eighth. Christian Ibarra singled off of setup man Victor Capellan to begin the inning. Brent Dean followed with a walk and Ibarra moved to third on a wild pitch. Then Ricardo lined a ball to left field to knock in the tying run. Marin bunted the runners up to second and third in the next at bat before the Goldeyes issued an intentional walk to Johnson. Then, Valera sent a 1-1 pitch back up the middle to score two runs. The throw to the plate bounced off of Capellan the pitcher an into the Saltdogs dugout allowing Johnson to score and make it 7-4.
Wagner retired the three batters he faced in the ninth inning to notch a save and secure the win. J.R. Bunda earned the win in a one inning relief effort and improved to 5-0 on the season.
The Saltdogs are now 2-2 against the Goldeyes on the year. The ‘Dogs have won 14 of their last 15 home games and go for their fifth straight series win tomorrow. First pitch is at 6:45 PM with coverage beginning at 6:15 PM on ESPN 1480 and saltdogs.com.
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