KANSAS CITY, Kan. — After a sparkling debut from Lincoln East legend Jesse Smith, three unearned runs in the eighth spoiled Opening Night as the Kansas City T-Bones (1-0) downed the Saltdogs (0-1) 4-2 in front of 6,330 fans at CommunityAmerica Ballpark Friday night.
Trailing 2-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth, Kansas City capitalized on a passed ball and an error to mount three runs.
Smith spun six terrific frames, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out three and walking zero but took a no-decision. After the first two hitters faced reached, the former All-State Spartan retired 14 straight hitters.
Jeremy Hamilton provided the big swing of the bat for the ‘Dogs, singling in two runs with two outs in the fourth, vaulting Lincoln ahead 2-1.
Kansas City opened the game with a double and a single by Jake Blackwood to take an early lead before Smith flipped the proverbial “doom switch” on the T-Bones’ barrels.
Joe VanMeter (1-0) turned in three phenomenal innings, allowing zero base runners in relief and striking out the final five hitters he faced to record the win.
Kaohi Downing (0-1) allowed two unearned runs in 1/3 of an inning to absorb the tough-luck loss. Veteran southpaw closer Kris Regas worked a scoreless ninth to secure the save.
The clubs play game two of the three-game series Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. RHP Zachary Varce is expected to square off against RHP Kyle Brady with pre-game coverage beginning at 6:35 p.m. on KFOR 1240.
The Saltdogs play their home opener Monday night at 6:35 p.m. against Gary SouthShore. Fans receive a Saltdogs Magnetic Schedule courtesy of Lincoln Orthopaedic Center. Great seats are still available at www.saltdogs.com or by calling 402-474-2255.