LINCOLN, NE – The Lincoln Saltdogs rallied from down 12-3 to put the tying run on base in the bottom of the ninth inning before succumbing to the Kansas City T-Bones 12-9 at Haymarket Park Monday night.
After the Saltdogs (27-22) scored six runs in the eighth to make it a three-run game, Kansas City (31-17) brought on 2017 American Association Reliever of the Year Cody Winiarski to try to close out the game. He retired the first two batters he faced but walked T.J. Bennett to keep the game alive. Then, Randolph Oduber smacked a single and Brandon Jacobs walked to load the bases. Nathaniel Maggio represented the go-ahead run but struck out to end the game.
Winiarski notched his sixth save of the season and Barrett Astin earned his second win against the Saltdogs. Dimitri Kourtis took the loss for Lincoln after lasting just three innings.
Kansas City had their bats going early. Dylan Tice started the game with a double and scored two batters later on a Nick Torres base hit. Dexter Kjerstad came through with a two-out single to plate two more runs in the inning and make it 3-0.
The T-Bones tacked on runs in the second and third innings on five combined hits to stretch their lead to five runs. Bennett and Ivan Marin combined to throw out a runner at home plate in the second frame.
Astin retired the first nine Saltdogs he faced but ran into trouble in the fourth. Cesar Valera and Marin drew walks to start the inning. Valera scored on a wild pitch to get Lincoln a run.
The Saltdogs momentum continued to the fifth inning. Dashenko Ricardo and Valera each drove in runs with singles and Lincoln trimmed the deficit to two runs.
Saltdogs right-hander Tyler Herron tossed two shutout innings of relief but sputtered after that. KC pushed across four runs on three hits and an error in the sixth inning. Mason Davis and Taylor Featherston each pounded home runs in the seventh to bring the T-Bones lead to 12-3.
Lincoln’s comeback started against reliever Francisco Gracesqui in the eighth. Christian Ibarra launched a three-run homer before the righty was able to record an out. Gracesqui struck out Curt Smith but let the next four batters reach on three walks and a single. Dashenko Ricardo drove in a run with a sac fly off new reliever Marcus Crescentini. Cesar Valera put an exclamation point on the frame by driving in a run on a single in his second at bat of the inning to make it 12-9.
Jake Hohensee and Cortland Cox combined to throw two scoreless innings of relief for the Saltdogs.
Lincoln tries to even the series with Kansas City on Tuesday night. First pitch is at 6:45 PM with coverage beginning at 6:15 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM and saltdogs.com/stream.