By Nolan Brooks
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Kansas City Monarchs reliever Jordan Martinson shut down the Cleburne Railroaders in game one and LJ Hatch walked it off with a sacrifice fly in game two as Kansas City swept the Cleburne Railroaders in a Saturday doubleheader at Legends Field.
A dominant bullpen performance from Martinson, a homer from newly acquired Edwin Diaz as well as Jan Hernandez were the name of the game in the Monarchs 7-2 game one victory.
The Monarchs kicked off the scoring in game one with a three-run homer from Diaz in the first inning on Friday.
Then came the rain and the series opener was suspended until Saturday. It resumed in the top of the third inning.
The Railroaders took advantage of the pause in action and in the fourth inning, Cleburne scored two runs, making it 3-2 Monarchs.
Then entered Jordan Martinson for the Monarchs and he was lights out. Martinson threw four no-hit innings with six strikeouts. Martinson got insurance runs on a two-run homer from Hernandez and an RBI single from LJ Hatch that made it 7-2.
Patrick Weigel would then enter the game and shut the door on Cleburne in game one of the series. Martinson got the win (2-0) and Riley Smith (2-2) got the loss.
The Monarchs bullpen shut down Cleburne and LJ Hatch delivered a walk-off sacrifice fly to get the Monarchs’ fifth consecutive series win.
Cleburne took a 2-0 lead in the first on a home run from Jose Sermo, a former American Association Player of the Year.
Chris Herrmann continued his active hitting with an RBI double that got the Monarchs on the board and made it 2-1 in the bottom of the first.
Edwin Diaz continued his stellar Monarchs debut. Diaz smashed a solo moonshot to left for his second homer in as many games that tied it at two runs apiece.
The pitching was the real story of game two as the Monarchs relievers Grant Gavin and Trey Jeans threw 2.2 perfect innings in relief for starter Brandon Finnegan. Finnegan threw 4.1 innings allowing five hits, two runs and three walks.
Keon Broxton started the Monarchs’ seventh-inning rally with a one-out walk, and Justin Wylie followed him up with a bloop single. With Hatch at the plate, both runners took off for a successful double steal.
That set the table for Hatch, who sent a fly ball to right field to bring Broxton home with the winning run.
Trey Jeans got the win (1-0) for Kansas City and Joe Shaw got the loss (1-1) for Cleburne.
The Monarchs finish their three-game weekend series against the Cleburne Railroaders, finale is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Sunday. Monarchs fans can tune in on 38 The Spot.