LINCOLN, NE – T.J. Bennett drew a bases-loaded, walk-off walk in the bottom of the eleventh inning to give the Lincoln Saltdogs a 3-2 win over the Wichita Wingnuts on Monday night at Haymarket Park. The Saltdogs’ (28-26) fifth walk-off victory of the year broke their season-high five game losing streak.
With the game tied 2-2, Brandon Jacobs started the bottom of the eleventh with a base hit off reliever John Hayes. Randolph Oduber drew a walk before Hayes got the next batter to strike out. Then, Christian Ibarra lined a single up the middle to load the bases for Bennett, who was 0-5 before the final at bat. He drew a five-pitch walk to finish the game.
Lincoln scored first in the pitchers’ duel. Angel Reyes tripled off Wingnuts (34-21) starter Travis Banwart. Jacobs drove him in with a double to right-center field to open the scoring.
Wichita scored their runs in the fourth. Abel Nieves singled to start the inning and eventually stole second and third. Saltdogs starter Austin Robichaux briefly lost his accuracy and walked two batters to load the bases. Next, Hunter Clanin singled in Nieves to tie the game. Nick Rotola followed with a bases-loaded walk to give the Wingnuts the lead. Robichaux induced an inning ending double play to get out of the side with just a 2-1 deficit.
The Saltdogs forced the tie in the fifth. Ibarra and Cesar Valera each walked with bring Curt Smith to the plate with two outs. The veteran recorded a broken-bat single to drive in the run. It was his 302nd Saltdogs RBI, tying him with Josh Patton for the second most in franchise history.
Robichaux did not factor in the decision but posted his third quality start of the season by lasting 6.1 innings and allowing just two runs. Relievers Shairon Martis, Jose Jose and Cortland Cox combined to throw 4.2 scoreless innings to preserve the tie. Cox earned the win after pitching a shutout eleventh inning.
The game lasted three hours and 52 minutes and was played in front of 2,534 people.
The Saltdogs try for a series-clinching win on Tuesday. First pitch is at 6:45 PM with coverage beginning at 6:15 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM and saltdogs.com/stream.