Saltdogs Walk off Wingnuts Again
LINCOLN, Neb. - For the fourth time in five games at Haymarket Park in 2018, the Lincoln Saltdogs rallied past the Wichita Wingnuts for a walk-off victory, as Dan Johnson lined a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth for an 8-7 win on Tuesday night.
The Wingnuts (34-22) put together a rally of their own in the eighth to turn a 6-5 deficit into a 7-6 lead. With two outs and Ryne Willard at second, Leo Vargas poked an RBI single up the middle to tie the game at 7-7. Vargas then stole second and came into score when Logan Watkins served a single into right field for an 8-7 Wichita edge.
Daniel Tillman (1-4) came on trying to record his 14th save, but Lincoln got a pair of singles to put runners on the corners with one out. A groundball to Vargas from Curt Smith resulted in a throwing error, scoring TJ Bennett from third and moving Cesar Valera to third. After a walk to Brandon Jacobs, Johnson hit a line drive to Nick Rotola in right that scored Valera for the victory.
Derek Gordon (5-0) got the win for Lincoln with an inning and a third of scoreless relief, striking out three.
The game started on a sour note for Wichita, as Lincoln (29-26) scored three times in the first inning against Wingnuts starter Casey Harman. A throwing error from Vargas started the scoring, then Jacobs was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make it 2-0. Johnson hit a sacrifice fly to end the scoring in the inning, with the Saltdogs in front 3-0.
The Wingnuts stormed back with four unearned runs against Lincoln starter Joe Bircher, making his Saltdogs debut. Vargas drew a bases-loaded walk, then Watkins tied the game at 3-3 with a single through the right side. Zach Nehrir looped another run-scoring single to left to put Wichita in front 4-3.
The Saltdogs scored the game's next three runs to go in front 6-4. Randolph Oduber smacked a two-run homer in the fourth, then Harman spiked a wild pitch in the fifth to plate Valera. The Wingnuts southpaw managed to fight his way through seven innings, throwing 124 pitches while striking out six.
The Wingnuts conclude their series with the Saltdogs on Wednesday. Righty Jordan Cooper (5-4, 5.76) makes the start for Wichita, while Lincoln will counter with fellow righty Michael Tamburino (4-4, 4.10) First pitch is scheduled for 6:45 PM, and will be broadcast on 1410 AM/93.9 FM KGSO, TuneIn and americanassociationbaseball.tv.
For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.
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