Lincoln Saltdogs Get Walk-Off Win to Split Double-Header with St. Paul Saints: Saints Summary
After losing the first game of their double-header to the Saints, the Saltdogs pulled out a much needed victory when Eddie Young grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Ian Gac and give Lincoln the 3-2 walk-off win. The loss means that the Winnipeg Goldeyes now have a magic number of one in the North Division, however, the split actually helped the Saints gain a half-game on the Laredo Lemurs for the Wild Card berth, as Laredo lost to Wichita 6-2.
In the first game of the night, St. Paul used a huge five-run third inning to stake themselves to a 5-1 lead, and then scored two more late to win 7-2. Joe Bonfe had the huge hit of the third inning, when he hit the first pitch he saw from Justin Kuks for a grand slam. The shot was Bonfe’s fourth home run of the year.
In the sixth inning Angelo Songco hit his 13th home run of the year to lead off the inning, and move the score to 6-2. In the seventh Bonfe added his fifth RBI of the night when his sacrifice fly scored Devin Thaut.
The outburst by the Saints third baseman was a welcome sight, especially considering that he was not originally slated to start the game for the Saints. Henry Wrigley was originally in the lineup, but was scratched at the last moment and replaced by Bonfe. That move proved to be sure genius.
Jeff Shields got the complete game victory for his first win since July 16. Since returning from the disabled list last weekend Shields has looked solid, giving up just three runs in 7.2 innings on Saturday, and then yielding the two runs tonight. He allowed just six hits, walked none and struck out five in going the distance for his second complete game of the season.
In the second game Justin Klipp arrived from the Wichita Wingnuts to pitch the backend of the double-header against Joe Bisenius. The two combined for quite the pitcher’s duel.
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth when Brian Joynt’s fielder’s choice scored Luis Nunez to give the Saltdogs the 1-0. They would increase that in the fifth when an error by Bonfe allowed Tyler Smith to score an unearned run, and it was 2-0.
The Saints tied the game up in the top of the sixth however. With one out and runners at second and third, Songco singled to score Even Bigley. Keith Brachold then followed with a single to score Willie Cabrera and the game was tied.
It looked like the Saltdogs would get right back in front in the bottom of the sixth when Joynt led off against Klipp with a double and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt. Closer Dan Sattler relieved Klipp and got Eddie Young to fly to shallow left field, before getting Mike Gilmartin to strike out to end the threat.
The score would remain tied in the seventh, but in the eighth Sattler wore down and the Saltdogs took advantage. Jeremy Hamilton led off the inning with a walk. Ian Gac grounded into a fielder’s choice and then Joynt singled advancing Gac to second. Matt Forgatch then drew a five pitch walk to load the bases for Eddie Young. Young grounded to short on a play that shortstop Joey Becker’s only play was to turn two. He got the first out at second, but the throw to first was late, scoring Gac and the Saltdogs won. It was St. Paul’s first extra-inning loss of the year.
Sattler took the loss to drop to 3-4 on the season. Bisebius recorded the win, moving to 5-2. Klipp pitched well in his first outing for the Saints going 5.2 innings, allowing seven hits and two walks, while striking out five. Only one of the two runs he allowed was earned.
The same two teams will battle tomorrow night in Lincoln. Anthony Claggett looks to even his record with his sixth win tomorrow, while Zachary Varce (5-8) looks to keep Lincoln in contention.
By Robert Pannier
Senior Baseball Editor
Member of the IBWAA