Angel Reyes Completes Lincoln Comeback Win with 3-Run Walk-Off Homer
It is true that the 2018 American Association season is not even a week old, but the Lincoln Saltdogs already put up the comeback of the season, coming from nine runs down to score 10 over the final six innings and then win in dramatic fashion on a three run homer by Angel Reyes to down the Wichita Wingnuts, 11-10. Reyes drove in four and the Saltdogs bullpen tossed 5.1 innings of scoreless relief to help give the team the opportunity to comeback.
The Wichita Wingnuts grabbed the lead in the top of the first. Logan Watkins started the game off with a base hit and moved to second when Ryne Willard followed with a single. Two batters later, Tony Thomas crushed an 0-1 offering from Derek Gordon for his first home run of the season and the Wingnuts were up 3-0.
In the bottom of the first, Austin Boyle breezed for Wichita, striking out two, but the Saltdogs would get one run back in the second. Chad Hinshaw led off the inning with a shot down the line in left that just stayed fair for a solo homer.
In the fourth, the Wichita Wingnuts would blow this game open and chase Gordon from the game. Nick Kaye and Leo Vargas led off the inning with back-to-back singles, and both moved into scoring position on a sacrifice. Willard walked to load the bases, and both Kaye and Vargas came home on a single by Abel Nieves. That brought Thomas back to the plate and he drove in his fourth run of the game with a single that scored Willard to make it 6-1. Two batters later, John Nester roped a ball into the alley that brought both runners in. Isaiah Aluko made it a 10-1 game when he crushed a Gordon offering deep over the right field wall for his first homer of the year.
Lincoln would get two of those runs back in the bottom half of the inning. Michael Hart and Chase Simpson drew back-to-back walks to get the frame started. Two batters later Nathaniel Maggio singled, scoring Hart to make it 10-2. Angel Reyes grounded to third on what should have been the final out of the inning, but the throw was far over the head of the first baseman, allowing Simpson to score.
Lincoln added single runs in each of the next two innings. In the bottom of the fifth, Christian Ibarra hit his first home run of the season to cut the deficit to six. In the sixth, Nathaniel Maggio singled with one out and moved to third on a two out single by Reyes. Maggio came home on a double by Dashenko Ricardo to make it 10-5.
In the eighth, the Saltdogs would make this a four run game. Maggio doubled to start the inning and moved to third on a ground out. He scored on a single by Reyes to make it 10-6.
That brought on the dramatic ninth. James Campbell came on for Wichita and hit Brant Whiting to start the frame. Two batters later Simpson walked before Chad Hinshaw singled to load the bases. Whiting scored on a sacrifice fly by Maggio and Jacobs plated Simpson with a single to make it 10-8. There were runners at first and third with two down when Reyes came to the plate. He quickly fell behind 0-2 before drilling a three run homer to give the Lincoln Saltdogs the dramatic 11-10 walk-off victory. It was the second home run of the season for Reyes.
The Lincoln bullpen was absolutely outstanding, allowing no runs and no hits in 5.1 innings of work. Brian Smith (1-0) earned the victory with 2 innings of relief. He struck out one.
Angel Reyes finished 3-5 with a run and 4-RBI. Nathaniel Maggio was 3-4 with 2-runs and 2-RBI, while Chad Hinshaw was 2-5 with 2-runs and a run driven in. The loss ruined a great night for Wichita Wingnuts slugger Tony Thomas. Thomas was 3-6 with 2-runs and 4-RBI.
The second game of this series will be Wednesday night. Travis Banwart (1-0) will go for the Wingnuts. He will be opposed by Tyler Herron. First pitch is 6:45.
By Robert Pannier