American Association All-Star Abel Nieves (pictured) was the hero for the Wichita Wingnuts, as they took the opening game of the semifinals from Laredo, 4-2.
The Wingnuts and Lemurs were all tied up at 2-2 after Travis Denker hit a game-tying home run for Laredo in the bottom of the seventh, but Nieves struck right back. Nieves came up with one out and the bases empty in the top of the eighth and slammed a solo home run to give Wichita a 3-2 lead.
Wichita added an important insurance run in the top of the ninth inning to seal the victory. Ryan Khoury came up with the big hit, as he ripped an RBI double to score Chris McMurray to push the Wingnuts’ edge to 4-2.
Tim Brown picked up the win for the Wingnuts. He pitched seven innings and allowed two runs on four hits. Brown struck out six in the victory.
Dan Sattler earned the save by closing out the ninth. He pitched a scoreless final frame, in which he allowed one hit, walked one and struck out two.
Winnipeg overcame a four-run first inning by Lincoln to take game one of the American Association semifinals by a score of 6-4.
The Goldeyes trailed 4-1 going into the third inning, but stormed back to tie the game. Reggie Abercrombie delivered the first blow with an RBI triple to center field and Donnie Webb followed with a two-run home run to even the score at 4-4.
Winnipeg took the lead for good in the fifth inning thanks to a Saltdogs error. With the bases loaded and one out, Josh Mazzola hit a ground ball to shortstop, but Lincoln could not turn two.
Webb was retired at second on a 6-4 putout, but an error by Lincoln second baseman Luis Nunez kept the Saltdogs from turning an inning-ending double play. Casey Haerther crossed the plate with the go-ahead run and Abercrombie scored on the error to give Winnipeg a 6-4 lead.
Chris Salamida took home the victory with a strong, eight-inning start. He struck out 10 men and allowed four runs on 10 hits. Brendan Lafferty pitched a scoreless ninth inning to grab the save. He struck out one and allowed two hits.