Jordan Stern pitched three scoreless innings in relief, and the Saltdogs held off Kansas City in a wild ninth inning to take the series opener 9-7 in front of 6,070 fans at CommunityAmerica Ballpark Friday night.
The T-Bones walked three batters, threw two wild pitches and committed two errors as Lincoln tallied four in the top of the ninth to take a 9-5 lead.
Following a Saltdogs error with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Kansas City loaded the bases but PJ Zocchi got Justin Snyder to fly out to center field to end the game and earn his 18th save.
Jordan Stern (2-3) pitched three scoreless innings out of the bullpen, allowing three hits while striking out two to earn the win. Steven Stewart (3-4) allowed two runs – one earned – in 1/3 of an inning to suffer the loss.
After Ray Sadler bombed a two-run homer to give the T-Bones the edge in the third, Lincoln retook the lead with a five-hit, four-run, two-out rally in the fifth.
Curt Smith went 4-for-4 with a run and an RBI for the Saltdogs. Jeff Howell and Kurt Steinhauer each turned in two-hit nights as well.
Vance Albitz started a spectacular double play in the seventh inning by diving to snare a ground ball up the middle that went through Stern’s legs, flipped it to Joe Ramos at second from his stomach before Ramos made the relay through to Phil Hawke to complete the 6-4-3 twin killing.
Kala Ka’aihue stroked a lead-off home run on the first pitch of the sixth for Kansas City.