Matty Johnson Completes Saltdogs Comeback in 6-5 Victory

Matty Johnson Completes Saltdogs Comeback in 6-5 VictoryAfter falling behind 5-2, it looked like the Lincoln Saltdogs would drop their second straight game to the Wichita Wingnuts, dropping them from the top spot in the American Association. However, the team rallied to tie the score and got the lead when Matty Johnson drilled his fourth home run of the season in the seventh on their way to the 6-5 victory. J.R. Bunda won his eighth game of the year and Michael Wagner saved his 16th game of the season.

The Lincoln Saltdogs got a run in the top of the first against Wichita starter Garrett Gould. Joe Robbins led off with a base hit and moved to second when Matty Johnson blooped a single into right to put two on with no one out. Robbins stole third before Gould followed by striking out Cesar Valera. That brought Curt Smith to the plate who hit a ball deep to center that was caught by Tyler Sullivan, but Robbins came home to score to make it 1-0.

Matty Johnson: 2-4, 2-R, HR (4), RBI

An inning later the Lincoln lead became two. Randolph Oduber walked to start the frame and scored when Brandon Jacobs lined a double down the line in left that brought Oduber all the way around to score to make it 2-0.

The Wingnuts got one of those runs back in the bottom of the second. T.J. Mittelstaedt singled to start the inning He moved to second but looked like he would be stranded when Dimtri Kourtis retired the next two batters. However, Richard Prigatano singled into right field to score Mittelstaedt to make it 2-1.

An inning later, the Wichita Wingnuts scored four-runs to take the lead. Leo Vargas started the inning with a double and scored on a base hit by Sullivan to tie the score. Christian Stringer singled to move Sullivan to second. Two batters later, Mittelstaedt lined a triple down the line in right that scored both runners to make it 4-2. Matt Chavez followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Mittelstaedt to make it 5-2.

Gould looked sharp after giving up the two early runs, blanking Lincoln in the third and the fourth. However, in the fifth, the Saltdogs tied the score. Ivan Marin walked to start the frame and Matty Johnson walked two batters later to make it first and second with one down. Valera quickly fell behind 0-2, then fouled off four pitches to work the count to 2-2. He then lined a single to center that scored Marin to cut the deficit to two.

J.R. Bunda: W (8-0), 2-IP, 3-K

Josh Goosen-Brown relieved Gould, but he could not slow down the rally. After retiring the first batter he faced, Nathaniel Maggio singled into center to bring home Johnson. Oduber singled to plate Valera and the game was tied at five.

It stayed that way until the seventh, when Johnson gave his team the lead for good. With one down, Johnson drilled the first pitch he saw from Seth Harvey over the right field wall for his fourth homer of the season. That made it 6-5.

Casey Crosby gave up two hits in the bottom of the seventh, but preserved the lead. Cameron McVey walked the first batter he faced in the eighth, but struck out two to end the threat. In the ninth, Michael Wagner gave up a one out double to Vargas. Sullivan then grounded to the first baseman who threw to Wagner for what looked like the second out of the inning, but the umpire ruled Sullivan safe. With first and third and one down, Wagner walked Stringer to load the bases but got Brent Clevlen hit into a double-play to end the game. That was his 16th save of the season.

J.R. Bunda (8-0) earned the victory, tossing 2-perfect inning while striking out 3. Matty Johnson was 2-4 with 2-runs, a homer, and an RBI for Lincoln. Randolph Oduber was a perfect 2-2, with a run, and an RBI and a walk. T.J. Mittelstaedt finished 2-3 with 2-runs and 2-RBI for Wichita.

The rubber-match of this three-game set is tomorrow. Wichita will turn to righty Jordan Cooper (5-1, 4.30), while Lincoln will counter with lefty Cesilio Pimentel (1-1, 3.04). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.


By Robert Pannier

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