LATE INNING RUN AND RAIN DOWN MONARCHS
By Dan Vaughan
LINCOLN, Neb – After the Kansas City Monarchs (19-14) drove over night in severe rain and storms, it looked like the Monarchs and Saltdogs would dodge any rain on Friday night in their series opener. A late home run off the bat of Ryan Long just minutes before the skies opened up in the eighth inning was the difference in a 3-2 win for the Lincoln Saltdogs (16-16).
Gabby Guerrero hit a solo blast off lefty starter Kyle Kinman in the second to give KC a 1-0 lead. The Saltdogs would take the lead in the bottom of the second on a walk off Gregori Vasquez by Long and a stolen base off second. David Vidal would move Long to third on a sac bunt, and he would come home on a sac fly from Skyler Weber to tie the game. Edgar Corcino would double with two outs, and Partrick Adams would single to give Lincoln the lead 2-1.
Vasquez tossed a quality start for the Monarchs, going six innings and giving up the two runs to get a no decision. Kinman looked like he would get the win, but in the seventh the Monarchs scratched out a run to even it all up at two.
Johnny Field got hit by a Kinman pitch with one out. Then a single off the stick of Alexis Olmeda moved Field to third for Kevin Santa. Santa hit a bloop single to right that scored Field, but Olmeda was thrown out at second owing to having to wait to make sure the ball got down and was not caught in right. Carter Hope would come in to face Darnell Sweeney, and he would strike out the Monarchs third sacker for out number three. Elroy Urbina worked a scoreless seventh inning for Kanas City to keep the game even at two.
That sent the game to the eighth just as the rains were moving into the area. The Monarchs would get a one-out walk off Hope, but a double play ball erased any chance to take the lead.
In the home half of the stanza, Brian Ellington faced Long, who hit the solo homer to start the eighth for the lead and eventual winning tally. With two outs, the skies opened up, and the grounds crew could only get the right side of the infield covered, and then the rains blew through downtown Lincoln. After a dealy the game was called, with Lincoln winning 3-2. The loss was the second in a row in heart-breaking fashion for KC, and the road trip record now is 2-3 with two more games on the swing in Lincoln.
The Monarchs will take on the Saltdogs in game two of the three-game series Saturday night. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. The game can be heard on the Monarchs Broadcast Network with the pre-game beginning at 6:40 p.m. and the video stream airing on aabaseball.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 monarchsbaseball.com. and the Monarchs Facebook and Twitter pages for updates throughout the season.
WP: Carter Hope (3-0)
LP: Brian Ellington (0-2)