LINCOLN, NE – The Lincoln Saltdogs earned walk-off wins in the first two games of the series but the Wichita Wingnuts came from behind to take the series finale 5-2 at Haymarket Park.
The Saltdogs (29-27) beat the Wingnuts (35-22) with the walk-off in four of the first five home games against Wichita and came up feet short of coming back another time. Lincoln entered the bottom of the ninth down three runs and Dan Johnson started the frame with a single. The next two batters struck out against closer Daniel Tillman before Dashenko Ricardo notched a base hit to keep the game alive. Then, Christian Ibarra, who hit a home run in the eighth inning, hit a fly ball to the warning track in left field to end the game.
The contest began as a pitchers’ duel. Lincoln’s Mike Tamburino pitched seven shutout innings and surrendered just five hits. He struck out seven batters compared to two walks. It was the third time Tamburino did not allow a run in a start this season.
The Saltdogs recorded their only run against Wichita starter Jordan Cooper in the second inning. Cooper hit Brandon Jacobs with a pitch to start the frame. Johnson followed with a single and Jacobs moved to third base on a fly ball. Next, Angel Reyes shot a grounder through the left side to score Jacobs and give the Saltdogs the lead.
Cooper was lights out after that, shutting out the Saltdogs over the five innings. He gave up just five hits and allowed only three baserunners after the second inning.
Wichita broke through in the top of the eighth. Reliever Shairon Martis walked the first two batters of the inning and then gave up an RBI single to Abel Nieves. Right fielder T.J. Bennett misplayed the ball in right field allowing the second run to score. Derek Gordon came in to replace Martis and gave up a two-run homer to Tony Thomas. After an error and a hit batter, Nick Rotola tallied a single to drive in the final run of the frame and give Wichita the 5-1 lead.
Ibarra launched his home run off reliever Austin Boyle in the next half inning. The infielder has blasted 10 home runs on the season including five in the last 11 games.
The Saltdogs are off on Thursday before hosting the division-leading Sioux City Explorers on Friday. First pitch is at 7:05 PM with coverage beginning at 6:35 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM and saltdogs.com/stream.