KANSAS CITY, KS – The Kansas City T-Bones scored five runs on five hits in the bottom of the fourth inning and held off the Lincoln Saltdogs 6-2 on Tuesday night.
Saltdogs (30-30) starter Joe Bircher dazzled through three innings but eventually took the loss. The lefty allowed just one baserunner before succumbing to the streaking T-Bones (40-21) in the fourth inning. Mason Davis started the frame with a double and Todd Cunningham followed with a bunt single. Then, Colin Walsh drove in the first run of the game with a smash hit past the shortstop. Noah Perio Jr. followed with another RBI single. Two batters later, second baseman Cesar Valera misplayed a grounder allowing the third run to score. Next, Dexter Kjerstad drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Keith Curcio singled in another runner to make it 5-0.
T-Bones pitcher Jayson Aquino went four innings and earned the win in his first start for Kansas City. The T-Bones used six relievers to pitch the final five innings.
The Saltdogs were able to generate offense in the sixth. Righty Pasquale Mazzoccoli walked the first three batters of the inning to load the bases for Randolph Oduber. The outfielder smacked a single up the middle to score the first run. Then, Dan Johnson managed a sacrifice fly to send in another and force KC to go to the bullpen again. Brandon Jacobs doubled off new pitcher Kevin Hill to send in another run and make it 5-3. Two batters later, Ivan Marin drew a walk to load the bases with two outs. Christian Ibarra hit a sinking line drive to right-center field and Kjerstad made a diving catch to prevent a hit. The diving catch likely prevented at least two runs from scoring.
Kansas City tacked on another run in the seventh. Cunningham blasted his second home run of the season to extend the T-Bones lead to three runs.
New Saltdogs infielder Jamey Smart recorded a pinch-hit single off T-Bones closer Cody Winiarski in his first Saltdogs at bat. Winiarski induced a double play and notched a strikeout against the next batters to register the save.
The Saltdogs managed only six hits on Tuesday and are batting just .217 this season against the T-Bones. Lincoln is 0-7 against Kansas City.
The ‘Dogs try to even up the series on Wednesday night. First pitch is at 7:05 PM with coverage beginning at 6:35 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM and http://www.espn1480.com/lincoln-saltdogs-baseball/.
For more information on the Saltdogs, follow the team on Facebook and Twitter/Instagram @saltdogsball. For ticket information visit https://saltdogs.com/tickets/ or call (402) 474-2255.