Lincoln Saltdogs Roll Lucky 7s in Double-Header Sweep
The Lincoln Saltdogs and Kansas City T-Bones were forced to play a double-header after Saturday’s game was rained out. The team from Lincoln combined to score seven runs in the first two innings of Game 1, then scored once over the next 11 innings before plating six in the top of the seventh of Game 2.
In Game 1, the Lincoln Saltdogs got to Kansas City T-Bones starter Kyle Brady for seven runs in the first two frames, then held on for the 7-5 win. In the first Brady walked Matt Forgatch and two batters later gave up a base hit to Jon Gaston. That put runners at first and second with two outs and the inning had the feeling like the Kansas City starter would leave unscathed, but Curt Smith shattered that when he drilled a Brady offering to the wall in center field for a triple. Both runners scored and Lincoln was up 2-0. Mitch Canham followed with a ground ball that Ryan Cavan was able to make a play on but he could not gun down Canham, scoring Smith. At the end of one inning it was 3-0 Saltdogs.
In the top of the second the Saltdogs would add four more and, once again, Forgatch got the rally rolling. The left fielder led off with a walk, and stole second base. Two batters later Jon Gaston doubled into the gap in left field, scoring Forgatch. A walk to Smith put runners at first and second with two outs, and that would be enough for T-Bones manager John Massarelli. John Loera took over and Canham was the first batter the reliever would face. Canham worked the count to 3-1 before going deep with his first home run of the year. That scored three more and made the score 7-0.
Staked to the seven-run lead, Linoln Saltdogs starter Zach Varce kept the T-Bones scoreless in three of the first four frames. The only run he allowed came in third when Nate Tenbrink doubled with two outs, and Jake Blackwood followed with a single to score Tenbrink. He was pitching well, but in the fifth his run came to an end.
The T-Bones showed that their ability to battle back in games is no bull. Alex Marquez led off with a double and Cavan followed with a walk. Tenbrink singled on an 0-1 pitch, scoring Marquez. Two batters later an error allowed Bailey to reach base, making the bases loaded with one out. Varce tried to challenge Kyle Robinson with his first pitch but the designated hitter took it and ripped it to the wall, scoring all three runners. Robinson wound up at second and that would be it for Varce. Mackenzie King took over and retired the side, but the T-Bones had brought themselves to within two.
Kansas City threatened in the sixth, loading the bases with two outs, but reliever Conor Spink retired Joe Rapp to keep the lead intact. In the seventh Zach Arneson took over and he, too, found himself in a bit of trouble. Arneson retired the first two hitters, then gave up a single and a walk. Tenbrink came to the plate as the winning run but Arneson got him to fly out to end the game.
King (1-0) was the winner, while Arneson earned his first save of the season. Brady (0-1) took the loss. Canham was 2-4 with a run and 4 RBI for Lincoln.
The Lincoln Saltdogs swept the series with a six run ninth inning that erased a two-run deficit and gave them the 7-3 win. It was a magical inning for sure.
The Saltdogs took the lead in the top of the first inning, when Brian Joynt hit his first home run of the season. It was also Joynt’s first RBI on the young season.
In the fourth, the T-Bones tied the score on a double by Kyle Robinson that plated Jake Blakewood, who had singled earlier in the inning. In the sixth Kansas City would take the lead when Cavan led off with a single, and scored on a triple by Tenbrink against Lincoln starter Kevin McGovern. Blackwood followed with a single and the T-Bones were up 3-1.
Casey Barnes had been absolutely spectacular for Kansas City after giving up the first inning run. He held the Saltdogs off the scoreboard through the next four frames, and left after five, allowing 5 hits and a walk, while striking out 6. Jonathan Kountis pitched a perfect sixth inning, and up by two the T-Bones turned to Kris Regan to close it out.
Eddie Young led off the inning and doubled to the wall in center field to lead off the inning. Ryan Wiggins followed with a single that plated Young, and the Saltdogs were within one. A walk to Forgatch put two runners on, and they both came home when Brian Joynt tripled to the wall in center field to give Lincoln the lead. Walks to CJ Ziegler and Curt Smith loaded the bases for Ryan Lashley, who cleared them with a double that plated all three, putting the visitors up 7-3.
In the bottom of the seventh Moises Melendez came in and closed out the game for Lincoln. He retired the Saltdogs in order, and was credited with the save, his first. McGovern (1-0) earned his first win of the season, while Regan (0-1) took the loss.
By Robert Pannier