The Lincoln Saltdogs' season came to an end in Winnipeg on Sunday night with an 10-9 loss that gave the Goldeyes a 3-1 series win in the first round of the American Association playoffs.
After rallying for three runs in the top of the ninth inning to take a 9-8 lead, the Saltdogs appeared to be on the verge of forcing a decisive Game 5. But the bullpen couldn't close the door on Winnipeg.
Lincoln pitcher Michael Wagner walked Shawn Pleffner to lead off the bottom of the ninth, then gave up a single to David Bergin.
After forcing a groundout, Wagner intentionally walked Mason Katz to load the bases, but then walked the next batter, Andrew Sohn, to bring in the tying run. After Wagner threw three straight balls to Casey Turgeon, Lincoln manager Bobby Brown called on pitcher J.R. Bunda, who threw ball four to walk in the winning run.
With the win, Winnipeg advances to the American Association championship series against the Wichita Wingnuts.
Winnipeg took an early 4-0 lead as Lincoln's Seth Webster gave up four hits, including a two-run home run to Pleffner, in the second inning.
Lincoln answered with three runs in the third inning on a Joe Robbins three-run shot, but four more runs in the sixth gave the Goldeyes an 8-5 lead heading into the seventh inning. Christian Ibarra hit a solo home run in the seventh to cut the Saltdogs' deficit to two.
In the ninth inning, Nathaniel Maggio hit a solo home run with one out, then Ibarra flew out to left field for the second out.
With the Saltdogs down to their last out, Joe Robbins walked and scored on a Cesar Valera double. Randolph Oduber reached on an error by shortstop Sohn, allowing Robbins to score, and the Saltdogs led for the first time all night.
The lead turned out to be brief, though, as the Saltdogs couldn't duplicate their regular-season success (58-41, Central Division title) in the postseason.