KANSAS CITY, KS – Curt Smith hit a home run to deep center field and the Lincoln Saltdogs’ bullpen closed out the game to beat the Kansas City T-Bones 4-2 for their first win of the season.
Carlos Pimentel earned the win for the Saltdogs (1-1) after going six innings and surrendering just two runs. Luis Paula was charged with the loss for Kansas City (1-1) as starter Gabe Perez left with the game tied following the 5th inning.
The T-Bones scored their only two runs via the home run. Marcus Lemon gave KC the early lead by blasting a ball past the right field fence in the bottom of the 1st inning. Joe Jackson had the other shot for the T-Bones with his solo homer coming in the 5th inning.
The Saltdogs responded to Lemon’s 1st inning homer by scoring in the top of the 2nd. Christian Ibarra was hit by a pitch and then erased by a Trever Adams fielder’s choice. Adams stole second base to get in scoring position for Dashenko Ricardo. The catcher hit a slow ground ball to Lemon at third base. Lemon had to make a quick throw to retire Ricardo and ended up firing it past the first baseman to allow Adams to race home and tie the game 1-1.
Smith gave the Saltdogs their first lead of the game in the top of the 5th inning. The Curacao-native launched a two-out bomb to straightaway center field for his first hit of the season.
After Jackson’s homer tied it up, the Saltdogs reclaimed the lead for the final time in the top of the 6th. The ‘Dogs had runners on first and second with one out with Ricardo at the plate again. He hit what could have been a double play ball, but shortstop Eddie Newton misplayed the grounder letting all runners reach safely and allowing Adams to score.
Christian Ibarra provided the Saltdogs’ bullpen with an insurance run in the 7th inning. Cesar Valera started the frame with a walk and advanced to third base with two outs. Ibarra hit a crisp line drive and Valera trotted in to make it 4-2.
While Pimentel labored through six innings, the bullpen breezed through the final three. Fabio Martinez worked the 7th and Michael Wagner pitched perfect 8th and 9th innings to get the two-inning save.
Pimentel tossed 106 pitches in the win. He allowed seven runners to reach in between the two home runs but was able to navigate through the jams. He recorded nine strikeouts compared to just two walks.
Robbie Rowland heads to the mound for the Saltdogs searching for a series victory in tomorrow’s rubber match. First pitch is at 1:05 PM and coverage begins at 12:35 on ESPN 1480 and saltdogs.com.