Sunday, July 1, 2012

T-Bones drop opening pair of weekend series


SATURDAY: The red hot Tommy Collaro lined a 1-2 fastball from Jake Wiley to center field with two outs in the ninth, giving the Lincoln Saltdogs a 3-2 lead and eventual win at Haymarket Park on Saturday night.

KC erased a 2-1 deficit in the top of the sixth, tying the game on an RBI single down the left field line by Enrique Cruz. Meanwhile, T-Bones starter Luke Irvine, a Liberty, Mo. native, pitched well after a shaky first inning when he gave up two runs.

Although he didn’t get the decision, Irvine struck out eight and walked only two over six innings of work.

With a 2-2 tie, the game turned in the bottom of the eighth. Mike Provencher led off and reached on an error by T-Bones third baseman Enrique Cruz.

Four batters later, with Jake Wiley pitching for Kansas City and the bases loaded with two outs, Collaro, who had homered in each of his last four games, sent an RBI line drive single to center that gave the Saltdogs a 3-2 lead.

In the top of the ninth, facing closer P.J. Zocchi, Hunter Mense led off with a single and was sacrificed to second, but the T-Bones couldn’t advance him past there before the final out.

Lefty slugger Brandon Jones raised his average to .349 with a homer and two singles in four at-bats.

The home run, a liner over the right-center field fence, came in the first inning with two outs. Jones scored Kansas City’s other run in sixth on the hit by Cruz.

The loss drops Kansas City’s record to 22-20.


FRIDAY: Kansas City starter Josh Rainwater went the distance with eight innings, but the Lincoln Saltdogs used a three-run sixth inning to build a 6-1 lead and held on to win 6-4 at Haymarket Park on Friday night.

Rainwater (3-3), who had won his last three starts, gave up nine hits with one walk, and he struck out three Lincoln batters.

In the ninth inning, though, it looked as if the T-Bones offense was going to put Rainwater in position for his fourth win. After scoring two runs in the eighth, Kansas City trailed 6-3. With two outs and the bases loaded, Saltdogs closer P.J. Zocchi hit Gus Milner with a pitch. Then, down 6-4 and needing a base hit to possibly tie, the hot-hitting Brandon Jones lined out to left-fielder Brad Payne, ending the game.

Rainwater threw three scoreless innings and went into the bottom of the fourth with a 1-0 lead, after Milner lined his third home run of the season to right center with two outs. The Saltdogs, however, took the lead in the fourth on David Espinosa’s two-run homer.

After Tommy Collaro hit a leadoff solo shot to left in the fifth, his fourth straight game with a home run, the Saltdogs put their stamp on the game in the sixth. Leading 3-1, Lincoln scored three runs on four hits, increasing the lead to 6-1.

The loss drops Kansas City to 22-19.