05/29/2017 10:58 PM
LINCOLN, Nebraska -- The AirHogs fell in dramatic fashion at Haymarket Park Monday evening 5-4. Lincoln Saltdogs left fielder Brandon Jacobs provided the fireworks by launching a 2-run walkoff home run to right center to erase a 4-3 deficit and help the home team take the opener of a 3-game set.
Former Philadelphia Phillie James Russell started for Texas. After surrendering a run on 3 hits in the bottom of the 1st, Russell settled down to post 4 straight scoreless innings. The AirHogs evened the score a 1 in the top half of the 2nd on an RBI double from Ryne Willard that scored Ryan Wagner.
With the contest still knotted at 1-1, the Saltdogs capitalized on a key error in the 6th by center fielder Cameron Monger to post 2 2-out, unearned runs vs. Russell and take a 3-1 advantage.
Still down 3-1 in the top half of the 9th, the AirHogs launched a furious comeback effort vs. closer Michael Wagner. Willard and Brian Ragira each produced 1-out singles to put the tying runs on base. With 2 outs, Trevor Sealey drew a walk to load the bases. Beamer Weems then drew another base on balls from Wagner to score Willard and make it 3-2. The next batter Denis Phipps proceeded to give the AirHogs a 4-3 lead with a clutch 2-RBI base hit up the middle.
After the miraculous comeback, Texas brought in closer Luis De La Cruz to finish off the contest. De La Cruz walked Brent Dean with 1 out before striking out Ivan Marin. 1 out from his 3rd save of the season and facing Jacobs, De La Cruz took the count to 3-2 before the left fielder teed off for his 2nd home run of the season. The walkoff blast to right center field salvaged the win for Lincoln and helped them win their 3rd in a row.
TJ Bozeman and Roman Gomez each turned in an inning of scoreless relief for the AirHogs. De La Cruz suffered his 1st loss of the season while JR Bunda, who stranded the bases loaded in the top of the 9th, picked up his 1st win. Marin, Jacobs, Tommy Mendonca and Dashenko Ricardo all finished with multiple hits for Lincoln. Ricardo and Cesar Valera each finished with 1 RBI.
The AirHogs (4-7) and the Saltdogs (5-6) meet again tomorrow at 6:45 pm. RHP Tyler Bremer (1-0, 1.74 ERA) is expected to start vs. Saltdogs lefty Bennett Parry (0-0, 0.84 ERA). A live broadcast will be available at mixlr.com/TXAirHogs.
[PHOTO BY WALTER TENERY]