LINCOLN – Levon Washington hit a two-out, two-run home run in the top of the 12th inning to lift the Sioux City Explorers (39-39) to a 6-4 win over the Lincoln Saltdogs (47-28) in front of 4,366 fans at Haymarket Park.
The Saltdogs brought a 4-3 lead to the top of the ninth inning with closer Michael Wagner taking the mound. With two outs and nobody on base, Joe Bennie hit a sharp grounder that was booted by third baseman Tommy Mendonca allowing Bennie to get to second base. The next batter, Jayce Ray, hit a single through the right side of the infield to send Bennie home to tie the game.
Mendonca’s error broke a streak of five straight error-free games by the Saltdogs defense. The three runs allowed by the bullpen broke their streak of 22.1 straight scoreless innings.
The Saltdogs managed just two baserunners in the ninth inning and beyond. P.J. Francescon retired the Saltdogs in order in the 12th to tie Wagner for the league-lead with 16 saves.
The Saltdogs grabbed the early lead. They collected four straight hits in the first inning to score two runs and go ahead of Sioux City.
The X’s got a run back in the top of the second inning on a leadoff homer by Tyler Ogle. Saltdogs starter Derek Gordon worked around a bases –loaded situation to keep it a 2-1 game.
But the lead didn’t last much longer. Eudor Garcia hit a two-run homer with two outs in the top of the third inning to make it 3-2 in favor of the X’s.
The Saltdogs responded in the bottom of the fifth. Cesar Valera started the inning with a single to get on base. Then, Mendonca blasted a two-run homer into the parking lot past the right field fence to put Lincoln up 4-3.
There were three ejections in the game. Saltdogs manager Bobby Brown was tossed in the fourth inning while X’s manager Steve Montgomery and center fielder Tony Campana were ejected in the top of the ninth.
Sioux City has tallied five home runs in the past two games despite entering the series with the third fewest home runs in the league. The Saltdogs are 0-5 against the Explorers this season.
Shairon Martis tries to get the ‘Dogs their first win of the series 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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