WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes beat the Lincoln Saltdogs 10-9 in Game Four of the American Association Division Series at Shaw Park on Sunday evening.
The Goldeyes win the best-of-five series 3-1, and will face the Wichita Wingnuts in the American Association Championship Series beginning Wednesday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. It is the Goldeyes’ 10th appearance in a league championship series in franchise history.
Trailing 9-8 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Shawn Pleffner drew a leadoff walk and took second when David Bergin lined a single to left. After Jordan Ebert pinch ran for Bergin, Wes Darvill sacrificed the runners to second and third. The Saltdogs intentionally walked Mason Katz to load the bases. Andrew Sohn then worked a four-pitch walk to force home Pleffner with the tying run. Saltdogs’ right-hander Michael Wagner fell behind 3-0 on Casey Turgeon and was relieved by right-hander JR Bunda. Bunda bounced his first pitch in front of the plate to walk Turgeon and force home Ebert with the series-clinching run.
“Today was a tough day to pitch with the wind,” said Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney. “You leave something up, and people will hit it. Credit Lincoln, they fought back with one of our better guys on the mound. It wasn’t looking good there for a while, but our club has been playing for 27 outs all year, and they showed it again today.”
Needing a win to keep their season alive, the Saltdogs rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth to erase an 8-6 Goldeyes’ lead. Nathaniel Maggio led off the inning with a solo home run to left-centre. After pinch-hitter Tommy Mendonca grounded out to second, Christian Ibarra flied out to left for the second out of the inning. Joe Robbins walked to put the tying run on first and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Cesar Valera lined a double down the right field line to score Robbins. After Curt Smith was intentionally walked, Randolph Oduber reached on an error that allowed Valera to score the go-ahead run.
The Goldeyes jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Reggie Abercrombie led off with an infield single and scored on a single to left from Pleffner in which the ball bounced past Oduber. On the next pitch, Bergin crushed a two-run home run to left-centre. Later in the inning, David Rohm hit a two-out, RBI single to left.
Lincoln pulled within one run in the next half inning when Robbins hit a two-out, three-run home run to left-centre.
Curt Smith led off the top of the fourth with a solo home run to left-centre that tied the game.
The Saltdogs took their first lead in the top of the fifth when Robbins hit a two-out, solo shot to left-centre.
Trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the sixth, Sohn fought off a leadoff single to right. Turgeon then attempted a sacrifice bunt. Saltdogs’ left-hander Casey Crosby fielded the ball and made an errant throw to second that sent Sohn to third and allowed Turgeon to reach first. Rohm lined a single to right that tied the game, and the Goldeyes loaded the bases with no outs on a Josh Romanski single to left. After Cameron McVey relieved Crosby, Abercrombie hit a sacrifice fly to left that plated Turgeon with the lead run. Two batters later, Bergin lined a two-out, two-run double to left-centre that made it 8-5 Winnipeg.
Ibarra hit a two-out, solo home run down the left field line in the top of the seventh to pull the Saltdogs within 8-6.
Ryan Chaffee (1-0) earned the win in relief, while Wagner (0-1) took the loss for Lincoln.
Kevin McGovern started for the Goldeyes and took a no-decision, allowing four earned runs on four hits in four innings. McGovern walked two and struck out six.
Seth Webster started for Lincoln and also took a no-decision, allowing four earned runs on nine hits in four and two-thirds innings. Webster walked two and struck out three.
Game One of the American Association Championship Series against the Wichita Wingnuts is Wednesday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. All the action can be heard locally on 93.7 FM CJNU and worldwide at www.cjnu.ca
The Goldeyes host Game Three of the Championship Series on Saturday, September 16th at 6:05 p.m. The Goldeyes will also host the “if necessary” Game Four on Sunday, September 17th (4:05 p.m.) and Game Five on Monday, September 18th (7:05 p.m.). Tickets for all Goldeyes postseason home games are on sale now by calling 1-855-GOLDEYE, visiting www.ticketmaster.ca/goldeyes, or visiting any Ticketmaster location, including the box office at Shaw Park.
For information on Winnipeg Goldeyes’ season tickets, 10-game mini packs, and group outings, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-BASE or visit the Goldeyes’ official website at www.goldeyes.com