Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lincoln plates game-winning run in ninth to defeat T-Bones

The Lincoln Saltdogs broke a 4-4 tie in the top of the ninth inning and then closer P.J. Zocchi held off the T-Bones in the bottom of the inning as Lincoln won 5-4 on Thursday night at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.

Sean Smith led off the top of the ninth with a triple to center for Lincoln. The next batter, David Espinosa, drove a base hit to left against Kansas City’s drawn-in infield, scoring Smith and giving the Saltdogs a 5-4 lead.

In the bottom of the inning, Zocchi gave up a lead-off base hit to Justin Bass, but then retired the next three Kansas City batters and picked up his 22nd save on the season.

The big story throughout the night was Lincoln’s pitching. In addition to Zocchi getting his 22nd save, left-handed starter Tony Butler kept most of the T-Bones hitters off balance.

Butler gave up only four hits and three runs in six innings. He got eight strikeouts, including a stretch during the middle innings when he struck out seven consecutive Kansas City batters.

The only hitter who seemed to have Butler’s number was Justin Bass, who went four for five with a double, a run scored and a stolen base. Bass led off the bottom of the seventh with a double. Two batters later, he scored on a base hit by Lee Cruz, which tied the game at 4-4.

Kansas City (43-40) now gets set to play host to Laredo for three games beginning Friday night at 7:05 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.