T-Bones outlast Cleburne in another close game

The Kansas City T-Bones (25-14) got the bats going early in the Texas heat against the Cleburne Railroaders (14-25) on Saturday night to even the series with a 7-4 win.

Todd Cunningham lead off the first inning with a single that brought Nick Torres to the plate.

Torres then drove in Cunningham with a triple to put Kansas City on the board off Cleburne starter Michael Gunn. A fielder’s choice to short from Zach Walters drove in Torres to put the T-Bones ahead 2-0.

Cleburne made a comeback in the third inning with help from Blake Grant-Parks and K.C. Huth, who both singled to start the inning against T-Bones right-hander Tommy Collier.

Trevor Sealey was next up to the plate and advanced to first on a fielder’s choice. Levi Scott drove in two runs off a much-needed double from Levi Scott to tie the game at two.

In the sixth inning, Todd Cunningham singled for Kansas City. Zach Walters then advanced to first on a fielder’s choice putting Cunningham in scoring position.

A walk from Taylor Featherston loaded the bases and brought Dexter Kjerstad to the plate. A wild pitch from Will Mathis advanced all runners and scored Cunningham to increase the T-Bones lead to 3-2.

A sacrifice fly from Adrien Nieto and a single from Tucker Pennell brought in Walters and Featherston to make the score 5-2.

Cleburne didn’t stay quiet for long. A two-run home run from former T-Bone Angel Rosa put the Railroaders right back in the game in the bottom of the sixth inning with KC leading, 5-4.

The T-Bones’ seventh and eighth innings proved to be the difference maker in this matchup.

A sacrifice fly to left field from Zach Walters drove in Dylan Tice in the top of the seventh, followed by a ground-rule double from Cunningham in the eighth that would score Mason Davis, giving Kansas City a 7-4 lead.

Kansas City’s Tommy Collier (3-3) got the win and Carlos Diaz came in to close the game, earning his sixth save of the season. Cleburne’s Michael Gunn was credited with the loss, dropping his record to 1-1.

Sunday’s rubber match will be at The Depot at Cleburne Station in Cleburne, Texas. The first pitch is 6:05 p.m., and the game will be on the T-Bones Broadcast Network at on http://mixlr.com/t-bones-baseball/.

Right-handed pitcher Hunter Adkins (1-2, 4.29) of Kansas City will face right-handed pitcher Jared Mortenson (1-2, 2.50) in the series finale.

Individual tickets, season, group, mini-plans and nightly party suites are on sale and can be purchased by visiting the box office at T-Bones Stadium or www.tbonesbaseball.com. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday – Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

– Story from T-Bones

With 2-0 loss to Montreal, Sporting KC’s unbeaten run ends

Sporting Kansas City’s nine-match unbeaten run was halted Saturday in a 2-0 defeat to the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo.

Ignacio Piatti opened the scoring in the 54th minute before Alejandro Silva buried a 70th-minute penalty kick as Montreal snapped a six-game winless drought against Sporting KC that dated back to 2014.

Despite the setback, Sporting KC (9-3-5, 32 points) remains tied for first place in the Western Conference, level on points with FC Dallas at the halfway mark of the 2018 MLS campaign.

On the opposite sideline, Montreal (7-11-0, 21 points) provisionally climbs to seventh place in the East behind a 342-minute shutout streak that has produced four shutout wins in the club’s last five games.

The lone change to Sporting KC’s lineup from a wild 3-2 win over the Houston Dynamo last weekend saw rookie center back Graham Smith make way for captain Matt Besler, who returned to action after missing two straight matches with a hamstring injury. In midfield, Spanish veteran Ilie Sanchez – who was named a 2018 MLS All-Star on Friday – logged his 50th career regular-season start and appearance for the club.

Piatti, Montreal’s talismanic playmaker, had scored or assisted on seven of Montreal’s previous eight goals entering Saturday and was first to threaten in the ninth minute, unleashing an audacious strike from distance that required goalkeeper Tim Melia to sprawl low and palm away.

Sporting KC’s first shot attempt came 20 minutes later off the head of Ike Opara, who nodded wide off an in-swinging corner kick from Graham Zusi.

Frenchman Yohan Croizet, who bagged a stunning volley to lift Sporting KC past FC Dallas in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup a fortnight ago, tested his luck in the 38th minute with a long-range piledriver on his weaker right foot that fizzed marginally high. The venomous blast would be the final play of note during a pedestrian first half.

Evan Bush was forced into his first save three minutes after the restart when Croizet found a pocket of space at the top of the box and sent a low, driven effort straight at the Montreal goalkeeper.

Seconds later at the opposite end, Melia touched Rudy Camacho’s bouncing side volley over the crossbar as the match showed signs of springing to life.

Piatti’s quality shined through in the 54th minute when Montreal landed the first blow. A wave of pressure from the hosts resulted in the ball falling kindly into the path of the Argentine, and Melia could only get a hand to his sweetly struck curler from outside the box.

Piatti now has nine goals in 2018, five more than any other Impact player, and has scored in three of his last four appearances against Sporting KC.

The 1-0 deficit prompted a response from the visitors, who went close through Zusi’s deflected shot shortly after forward Khiry Shelton came off the bench to offer more bite in attack.

Montreal stymied any hopes of another Sporting KC comeback, however, when Daniel Lovitz drew a foul inside the penalty area on 69 minutes. Silva rolled home the ensuing spot kick for his first career MLS goal, having spent the first seven years of his professional career in South America.

A frustrated Sporting KC outfit threw numbers forward in the late stages and Roger Espinoza won his side a free with 77 minutes on the clock.

Zusi bent the resulting free kick over Montreal’s four-man wall, but an outstretched Bush got his fingertips to the stinging strike as the ball smacked the topside of the woodwork and landed out of play.

A busy week awaits Manager Peter Vermes’ men as the calendar turns to July. Wednesday’s road test at rivals Real Salt Lake followed by a highly anticipated battle with reigning MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield champion Toronto FC on Saturday at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

Kickoff on Wednesday is set for 9 p.m., with three hours of live coverage at Rio Tinto Stadium beginning at 8:30 p.m. on FOX Sports Kansas City Plus and FOX Sports Midwest Plus. Saturday’s home game will kick off at 7:30 p.m., and a limited number of tickets remain available via SeatGeek.com .

– Story from Sporting KC