Santa Grand Slam Propels Monarchs in Series Opener
by Dan Vaughan, Jr., Kansas City Monarchs
Lincoln, Neb.— The Kansas City Monarchs (53-31) got a grand slam home run in the top of the fourth inning from Kevin Santa and a quality start from Matt Hartman to take game one of the three game series from the Lincoln Saltdogs (39-46), Friday night at Haymarket Park in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The Monarchs took the lead in the top of the second on Casey Gillaspie’s solo shot to right field. It was his 16th home run of the season and his 51st in franchise history placing him fifth all time for Kansas City.
Matt Hartman was in a good groove early for Kansas City as the right-hander tossed five scoreless frames giving up just two hits and holding Lincoln off the board through five. In the top of the fourth, the Monarchs would load the sacks off starter Zach St. Pierre. Casey Gillaspie was hit by a pitch with one out and was followed by Gio Brusa, who would work a walk. J.C.Escarra would single to right to load the bases. Kevin Santa then hit a grand slam to right field to wipe the bases clean and push the Monarchs to a 5-0 lead.
In the sixth the Saltdogs got back-to-back home runs from Rayder Ascanio and Ryan Long with one out to cut into the lead at 5-2. Hartman would then right the ship and get the final two outs and finish the night tossing six innings, allowing two earned runs on two hits with five strikeouts.
Jameson McGrane worked a three up and three down seventh inning, but would see the Saltdogs pick up two runs off the righty in the home half of the eighth. Ascanio would launch his second home run of the game, a two-run shot, to cut the lead to 5-4 as the game went to the ninth.
The Monarchs would go in order in the ninth and would turn to Brandon Koch to close the game out in the bottom of the inning. Koch would strikeout the first two batters then get a ground out to end the game and record his third save of the season. The Monarchs winning streak is now six in a row and they are 4-0 on the current six game road trip.
The Monarchs and Saltdogs play game two of the three-game weekend series tomorrow night (8/20) at 7:05 p.m at Haymarket Park in Lincoln, Nebraska. The game can be heard on the Monarchs Broadcast Network with the pre-game beginning at 6:30 p.m. and the video stream airing on aa baseball.tv.
Tickets to all Monarchs games can be purchased by calling 913-328-5618 or by visiting monarchsbaseball.com. For additional information or interview requests, members of the media may contact the Monarchs Media Relations Department at (817) 739-3693. Stay tuned to monarchs baseball.com. and the Monarchs Facebook and Twitter pages for updates throughout the season.
WP: Matt Hartman (5-5)
LP: Zach St. Pierre (0-1)
S: Koch (3)