LINCOLN, NE – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (5-4) split a double header with the Lincoln Saltdogs at Haymarket Park on Saturday night, dropping the continuation of Friday’s game 5-2 and winning the nightcap 10-2.
Shortly after Friday’s game resumed in the top of the third inning, Adam Heisler hit a two-out, solo home run to centre field that gave the Goldeyes a 1-0 lead.
Lincoln (6-3) answered back with two runs in the bottom half. Chase Harris and Christian Ibarra opened with back-to-back singles to place runners on the corners. Pat Kelly grounded into a double play that scored Harris with the tying run. Curt Smith helped Lincoln start a second rally in the inning with a line drive single to right-centre. After Rene Leveret walked, Luis Alen singled sharply up the middle to drive in Smith and make it 2-1 Saltdogs.
Jon Smith hit a solo home run to centre field with one out in the bottom of the fourth, while Pat McKenna doubled home Leveret in the fifth to stretch Lincoln’s lead to 4-1. Ibarra hit a solo shot to left field in the bottom of the eighth for the Saltdogs’ fifth run.
In the top of the ninth, David Rohm singled to right field with two outs and scored on a Josh Romanski double to centre. With the Saltodgs leading 5-2, Brad Orosey relieved Lindsey Caughel to record the final out and earn the save.
Caughel (1-1) picked up the win in relief, allowing two earned runs on five hits in six and two-thirds innings. Caughel walked none and struck out three.
Zach Dando (0-1) took the loss for Winnipeg, allowing three earned runs on seven hits in two relief innings.
Friday’s original starters, Kevin McGovern for Winnipeg and Bennett Parry for Lincoln, each worked two shutout innings while taking a no-decision. Eric Sim worked a scoreless relief inning for Winnipeg in the bottom of the seventh.
In Saturday’s originally scheduled game–which was shortened to seven innings–Heisler led the Goldeyes’ offence with a career-high five RBI.
“We had a good start again offensively, and we got a good start from our starting pitcher,” said Goldeyes’ hitting coach Tom Vaeth.
The Goldeyes took the lead two batters into the contest and never relented. Maikol Gonzalez opened the game with a walk, stole second, and scored the game’s first run when Heisler singled to right-centre. Later in the inning, Reggie Abercrombie reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second, and came home on a two-out, RBI single to right-centre from Romanski.
After Goldeyes’ starter Edwin Carl posted a shut-down inning in the bottom of the first, Heisler knocked in his second run of the game with an RBI single in the top of the second. Ridge Hoopii-Haslam started the inning with a walk and took second on Tanner Murphy’s sacrifice bunt before scoring on Heisler’s base hit.
Alen homered with one out in the bottom of the second to slice Winnipeg’s lead to 3-1. Lincoln went on to put the tying runs on base before Carl sturck out Chase Harris swinging to end the inning.
Heisler hit his second home run of the double header in the top of the fifth, a solo shot with two outs to right-centre. Ibarra matched Heisler in Lincoln’s half of the fifth with a solo homer to left, which was also his second of the twinbill.
“He (Heisler) just got some good pitches to hit,” said Vaeth. “And when he got them, he didn’t miss them. He was patient, and worked the counts in his favour. It was just a good, all-around game at the plate from Adam tonight.”
Carl (1-1) earned the win, allowing two earned runs on four hits in five innings. Carl walked two and struck out three.
“He had some good fastball command tonight,” said Vaeth. “He’s just going to continue to get better. We expect some really great things from Edwin.”
The Goldeyes broke the game open, sending nine men to the plate, and scoring five runs in the top of the sixth. Rohm led off with a triple, extending his season-opening hitting streak to nine games in a row. The triple was also the Goldeyes’ first as a team this season. After Romanski walked, Casio Grider singled home Rohm on a line drive to left. Hoopii-Haslam reached on a misplayed sacrifice attempt to load the bases. Two batters later, Gonzalez lined a single to right that scored Romanski to make it 6-2. Heisler followed with his fourth hit, a two-run double to left that glanced off the body of a sliding Brandon Jacobs. The four hits tied a career-high for Heisler. Abercrombie extended the lead to 9-2 with an RBI single to centre.
Winnipeg’s 10th run came in the top of the seventh when an error by second baseman Pat Kelly scored Romanski who had double earlier in the inning.
Cameron McVey and Brandon Shimo each pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Carl.
Randy Zeigler (0-1) took the loss for the Saltdogs in game two, allowing three earned runs on three hits in three innings during a spot start. Zeigler walked four and struck out three.
Romanski made a spectacular catch to rob pinch hitter Alexi Colon of an extra-base hit in the bottom of the sixth. Colon scorched a line drive toward right-centre that Romanski snared with a diving effort to his left. Romanski has six RBI over his last three games, all of which have come on two-out base hits.
“Tomorrow should be a good game,” said Vaeth. “It’s not going to be an easy game on either side. Hopefully we can go out and grind out some at bats.”
The rubber match of the three-game series is Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. Kyle Anderson (1-0, 1.42) faces former Major Leaguer Shairon Martis (2-0, 1.50). All the action can be heard locally on 93.7 FM CJNU and worldwide at www.cjnu.ca beginning with the pre-game show at 1:30 p.m.
The Goldeyes’ 2016 home opener is scheduled for Monday, May 30th versus the Sioux Falls Canaries. Individual tickets for all home games at Shaw Park are on sale now by calling 1-855-GOLDEYE or visiting ticketmaster.ca For information regarding season tickets, 10-Game Mini Packs, or group outings, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-BASE, or visit the Goldeyes’ official website at www.goldeyes.com