LINCOLN, Nebraska – Rayder Ascanio hit two homers and drove in three, but the ‘Dogs lost 5-4 in the opener against the Kansas City Monarchs at Haymarket Park on Friday night.
Kansas City (53-31) took a lead on Casey Gillaspie’s solo homer in the 2nd inning. Kevin Santa’s grand slam – his first homer of the season – made it 5-0 Kansas City in the 4th inning.
The Saltdogs (39-46) got on the board with back-to-back homers in the 6th. Rayder Ascanio hit his fifth of the year before Ryan Long added his 10th, and Lincoln trailed 5-2 after six innings.
Ascanio recorded Lincoln’s first multi-homer game in almost two months when he hit a two-run homer to make it 5-4 in the 8th, but the Monarchs retired the final five Saltdogs to win a sixth consecutive game.
Saltdogs RHP Zach St. Pierre allowed five runs on six hits with four walks and nine strikeouts across five innings, while Lincoln’s bullpen combined to pitch four scoreless innings. R.J. Freure pitched the 6th, Carter Hope went 1-2-3 in the 7th, David Zoz worked a scoreless 8th and Matt Cronin went 1-2-3 with two strikeouts in the 9th.
Sioux City and Winnipeg were rained out Friday, so Lincoln falls a half-game behind the Explorers for the fourth and final playoff spot in the American Association West Division.
The ‘Dogs and Monarchs will meet again Saturday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., and pregame coverage begins at 6:35 on ESPN Lincoln 101.5 FM/1480 AM.
The Saltdogs are playing their 21st season in Lincoln! Visit saltdogs.com and follow us @saltdogsball on all social media for information regarding tickets and promotions all season long.