Lincoln, Neb. – A Brandon Jacobs two-run, walk-off double to cap a three-run bottom of the ninth inning allowed the Saltdogs to walk-off the Chicago Dogs in the opener of a three-game set between the two teams Friday night at Haymarket Park in Lincoln, Neb.
All three Saltdog runs in the inning came with two outs off Chicago closer Kaohi Downing who suffered his second blown save in eight tries this season.
A potent Lincoln offense was held at bay for most of the night, as they were shut out through their first six innings by Chicago starter Scott Barnes. Lincoln finally scored one run off Barnes in the seventh thanks to a Randolph Oduber RBI double. The Saltdogs left Oduber stranded at third in the inning however and trailed 4-1 to begin the bottom of the eighth.
Lincoln scored once more in the eighth thanks to a two-out RBI triple from Curt Smith off Chicago reliever Taylor Grover. The Dogs were again able to limit the damage however, as Smith was stranded at third. All five Saltdog runs in the game came with two outs.
After a leadoff walk of Angel Reyes began the bottom of the ninth on the mound for Downing, he coaxed a double play off the bat of Oduber to push the Saltdogs to their final out. That final out was never recorded however, as the next five Saltdogs reached base on the strength of two singles, two more walks, and the Jacobs walk-off double. Downing had not allowed a run over his past nine outings dating back to May 25, and had walked only one batter in 12 innings prior to Friday night.
Chicago lost a game when leading after eight innings for the third time this year. No other team in the American Association has lost when leading after eight innings more than once in 2018. The victory marked the third walk-off win of the year for Lincoln.
Edwin Arroyo, Treysen Vavra, and Dalton Blaser paced the Chicago offense with two hits apiece. Blaser added two RBI, while Vavra picked up one RBI as well.
Barnes worked seven strong innings, allowing just one earned run on four hits, while striking out a season-high nine Saltdogs. The Chicago bullpen allowed four earned runs in an inning and two-thirds after allowing just 13 earned runs in their previous 62 and one-third innings in the month of June.
The two teams will resume their three-game series on Saturday with the first pitch from Haymarket Park scheduled for 7:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast at www.thechicagodogs.com/broadcasts/ with the Crowne Plaza Pregame Show beginning at 6:45 p.m.