The Winnipeg Goldeyes scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to overcome a rally by the Lincoln Saltdogs and win 10-9 on Sunday night. The victory gave the Goldeyes a 3-1 series win and entry into the American Association Championship Series.
The Saltdogs entered the top of the ninth inning down 8-6. Nathaniel Maggio hit a leadoff home run off of Goldeyes closer Ryan Chaffee. The next two batters were retired bringing up Joe Robbins. He worked a walk to continue the game. Then, he advanced to second base on a wild pitch and Cesar Valera hit him in to tie the game with a double down the right field line. Winnipeg walked Curt Smith in the next at bat to get to Randolph Oduber. The righty hit a grounder to shortstop that was booted by Andrew Sohn allowing Valera to score the go-ahead run.
Saltdogs closer Michael Wagner came in to try to finish off the win. Shawn Pleffner walked to start the inning. Next, David Bergin got a single, his third hit of the game. Wes Darvill moved the runners up with a bunt and Mason Katz was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. Andrew Sohn drew a four pitch walk to send in the tying run. Wagner fell behind Casey Turgeon 3-0 and J.R Bunda was inserted to pitch. His first pitch missed inside and the Goldeyes scored the winning run.
Winnipeg jumped on Saltdogs starter Seth Webster to grab the first lead of the game. They got four runs on four hits, two walks and an error in the bottom of the second inning. Bergin blasted a two-run homer, Winnipeg’s first of the series, in the frame.
The Saltdogs chipped away with a three-run homer by Robbins in the third inning. They pulled even with a solo homer by Smith in the fifth and got the lead with another homer by Robbins in the fifth.
Winnipeg put together another big inning in the bottom of the sixth. They four runs on four hits, and an error off of relievers Casey Crosby and Cameron McVey to grab an 8-5 lead.
The Saltdogs pulled closer with a solo home run by Christian Ibarra in the seventh inning. Then, the ninth inning sequence took place.
The Saltdogs belted five home runs in the game. They out-homered the Goldeyes 9-1 in the series.
Ryan Chaffee earned the win for the Goldeyes while Michael Wagner was charged with the loss for the Saltdogs.
The Saltdogs issued six walks in the game and 23 in the series. The team that drew more walks won each game.
The Goldeyes made just one error in the series despite entering with second-worst fielding percentage in the league. The Saltdogs, who set the league record with a .982 fielding percentage, made three error on Sunday night.
The Saltdogs finished the regular season with the second-most wins in franchise history and won their first division title since 2014.
The Winnipeg Goldeyes will try to win their second consecutive American Association Championship by beating the team they beat last season, the Wichita Wingnuts.