KANSAS CITY, KS – It took 12 innings, but the Lincoln Saltdogs finally earned their first win against the Kansas City T-Bones in 2018. The Saltdogs (31-31) captured the victory 8-5 to snap a 0-8 start against the T-Bones (41-22) this year.
The Saltdogs claimed the lead four separate times in the seesaw contest including two times in extra innings. Lincoln is 3-0 in extra-innings games and moves back to .500 on the season.
The up and down game started in Kansas City’s favor in the first inning. Todd Cunningham started a two-out rally with a double off Saltdogs starter Kyle Kinman. After a walk, Noah Perio Jr. doubled in Cunningham to open the scoring.
After slipping up in the first inning, Kinman retired 14 straight batters for the ‘Dogs.
Lincoln’s offense got going in the third inning. Angel Reyes hit a towering homer to left field to tie the game. It was his 10th long ball of the season but his first since June 17th.
The home runs kept coming in the fourth. Brandon Jacobs went deep put the Saltdogs in front. Dan Johnson smacked hit first Saltdogs home run on the next pitch to make it 3-1. It was the Saltdogs’ first lead against KC this season. It was the third time the ‘Dogs have hit consecutive homers in a game this season.
The T-Bones found their offense again in the seventh. Kinman walked Colin Walsh to start the inning. After a fly out, Alay Lago singled to end Kinman’s night. Shairon Martis entered and struck out the next batters but both runners advanced by stealing bases. Then, lefty Jose Jose came on to face Keith Curcio. The batter blooped a single to right field to score two runs and tie the game 3-3.
The Saltdogs answered back in the next half inning. Christian Ibarra drew a one-out walk and Brandon Jacobs notched an infield single. The shortstop botched the throw moving both runners to scoring position. Next, Dan Johnson lined a single to right field to plate Ibarra and make it 4-3.
The roller coaster continued to the bottom of the eighth. Mason Davis blasted an opposite field home run off Jose to tie it back up. It was just the second earned run allowed by Jose since May 25th.
The Saltdogs broke the ice in the 11th inning. Dashenko Ricardo smoked a two-out double off closer Cody Winiarski to score Angel Reyes and give Lincoln the lead.
Again, Sioux City responded. Walsh started the next half inning with a double off J.R. Bunda. Perio singled him home to tie it. Then Alay Lago recorded a hit to put runners at the corners with no outs. Bunda got an infield fly out from the next batter then intentionally walked Keith Curcio to bring up catcher Tucker Pennell. The Saltdogs brought center fielder T.J. Bennett to the infield to put a third defender on the left side. On a full count, Pennell hit a broken-bat grounder to Bennett went home for an out the relay to first turned a double play.
T-Bones reliever Pasquale Mazzoccoli walked three of the first four batters he faced in the top of the 12th. Then, Dan Johnson drove in Ivan Marin with a sacrifice fly to put Lincoln ahead for good. Randolph Oduber doubled in two more runs to make it 8-5.
Jake Hohensee worked around a single to retire the side in the 12th and earn his first professional save.
It was the longest game of the season at 12 innings and four hours and 21 minutes.
The Saltdogs head to Sioux City next. They will resume a rain-suspended game at 6:05 PM on Friday and play a seven-inning game immediately after. Coverage begins at 6:05 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM and http://www.espn1480.com/lincoln-saltdogs-baseball/.