WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (9-6) beat the Lincoln Saltdogs 7-1 at Shaw Park on Friday night.
Goldeyes’ starting pitcher Kyle Anderson (3-0) made a bid for a perfect game, retiring the first 19 batters to face him. With one out in the top of the seventh inning, Saltdogs’ shortstop Pat McKenna reached on an infield single to break up both the perfect game and no-hitter. McKenna hit a slow roller between the mound and third base line. Anderson made an acrobatic play to field the ball and heave it to Jacob Rogers at first before McKenna was ultimately ruled safe.
“It’s too bad it (the perfect game bid) had to end that way,” said Anderson. “But it’s baseball. There’s some hard outs, so it makes sense that there’s going to be a soft base hit. After that you’ve just got to try to finish the game. We’ve got speed at every infield position, and the outfielders are incredible. They put the ball in play, and you’re not even worried. You know the play’s going to be made.”
Anderson finished with a complete game, the first of his professional career, allowing just a solo home run to Jon Smith with one out in the top of the eighth inning. Anderson retired the leadoff batter in all nine frames, and recorded 27 outs on just 79 total pitches. Anderson yielded two hits, zero walks, and struck out three. It was the third consecutive start in which Anderson did not issue a free pass. Anderson has now walked three or less in all 55 of his professional starts.
“It was exciting to watch,” said Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney . “Kyle was about as close to perfect as you can be tonight. He was just on point today. Give Tanner Murphy a lot of credit, because that kid chipped in with two big hits, but he kept Kyle in rhythm all night. It was just an all around good game.”
Offensively, the Goldeyes supported Anderson with a pair of big innings. In the bottom of the fourth, Rogers led off with a walk, and advanced to second on a sharp single through the left side from David Rohm. After Wes Darvill sacrificed the runners ahead, Casio Grider ripped a two-run double down the left field line to give Winnipeg a 2-0 lead. Murphy followed with a line drive single to right that chased home Grider with the Goldeyes’ third run.
Josh Romanski opened the bottom of the fifth with a single through the right side. Romanski took second on Reggie Abercrombie’s line drive single to left, and scored when Rogers cracked a long double to right-centre. Rohm followed with a double down the left field line to plate Abercrombie and Rogers, and give Winnipeg a 6-0 advantage.
Rogers finished with three hits, including two doubles. Romanski also had a three-hit game, while Rohm, Grider, and Murphy each had a pair.
“It was awesome,” said Rogers, referring to Anderson’s performance. “That’s fun to watch. He lets you put the ball in play, and lets our good defence work for him. It was a quality start from a great guy.”
Adam Heisler drove in the Goldeyes’ final run in the bottom of the eighth. Grider led off with a double, took third on a line drive to right from Murphy, and scored when Heisler grounded out to first.
Anderson’s last complete game came in 2012 during his senior season at California Polytechnic University.
Shairon Martis (2-2) took the loss for Lincoln (8-7), allowing six earned runs on 10 hits in five innings. Martis walked two and struck out one. 22-year-old right-hander Taylor Elman made his professional debut in the game, pitching three innings in relief of Martis.
Anderson’s performance comes one day shy of the two-year anniversary of the Goldeyes’ combined no-hitter at Sioux Falls, which was June 4th 2014 in the nightcap of a double header.
The series continues Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. Mikey O’Brien (3-0, 3.00) faces Lincoln right-hander Matt Larkins (1-0, 1.74).
Tickets for all Goldeyes’ home games are on sale now by calling 1-855-GOLDEYE, visiting www.goldeyes.com, or stopping by any Ticketmaster location, including the box office at Shaw Park. For information on season tickets, 10-Game Mini Packs, or group outings, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-2273.