WINNIPEG, MB – A ninth-inning rally that saw the Winnipeg Goldeyes put up a pair of two-out runs gave the Fish what starting pitcher Kevin McGovern called “the biggest win of the year by far” – a 6-5 walk-off victory over the Lincoln Saltdogs.
The Goldeyes were down 5-4 with two outs in the bottom ninth when Lincoln closer Jeff McKenzie balked, advancing pinch runner Josh Romanski to home plate and tying the game. Three pitches later, Maikol Gonzalez hit a walk-off RBI single to left field to score Adam Heisler and win the series.
“After that balk and (after) the tying run came across home plate, it seemed inevitable,” said David Rohm, who was in the on-deck circle during Gonzalez’s winning at-bat. “Everybody in the ballpark knew it was going to happen, and it was just either going to be Maik or me. Someone had to do it, and Maik luckily got that clutch hit, and it was awesome.”
Neither side scored until the bottom fifth, when Jacob Rogers hit a leadoff homerun to give Winnipeg a 1-0 lead.
The Saltdogs capitalized on three Goldeyes errors in the next inning and scored two runs of their own, but the Goldeyes tied the game in the bottom sixth. With one out, Maikol Gonzalez made contact with Carlton Tanabe in motion on the 3-2 pitch to stay out of the double play, and Rohm followed up with a double to score Tanabe.
Lincoln added a run in the seventh and two in the eighth (including one more unearned run) before the Goldeyes’ comeback in the ninth.
“It was just a tough break here and there, but we ended up picking it up at the end,” McGovern said when asked about the Goldeyes’ defence. “I believe if we make one mistake, we’re going to pick each other up. I told Maikol when he came in after those two errors, ‘bad hop? So what? Go get a big hit for me’ – and then he did.”
McGovern allowed three runs (one earned) on four hits through seven innings for a no-decision, while Jailen Peguero pitched the final out of the top ninth and picked up his second win of the season. McKenzie suffered the loss.
With the win, the Goldeyes improve to a 10-7 record after taking the series 2-1, something McGovern and Rohm said all came down to perseverance.
“We don’t panic when we’re down,” Rohm said. “We’re going to go out and give it our all. We strung together some good at-bats there at the end. Now, as a team, we’re going to get more confidence if we’re down late in the game next time. We know we can do it.”
“This is the biggest win of the year by far,” McGovern added. “I took the ball, and I wanted to give everything I could, and then the hitters backed me up. This is going to be really big for us going into the road trip.”
The Goldeyes start a seven-game road trip Monday night at 7 with the first of three against the Sioux City Explorers. Right-hander Duke von Schamann (1-1, 6.28) is set to start for Winnipeg, while right-hander Jordan Risse (1-0, 4.50) will start for the Explorers.
Following the game, the Goldeyes released right-handed pitcher Eric Sim.
Tickets for all Goldeyes home games are available at the Shaw Park box office or by calling 1-855-GOLDEYE or visiting ticketmaster.ca. All Goldeyes games are broadcast live on 93.7 CJNU and at cjnu.ca.