by Caleb Grizzle, Monarchs
The Kansas City Monarchs (11-6) defeated the Lincoln Saltdogs (11-4) in the series opener on Monday, Memorial Day night, 14-9 at Legends Field.
Leadoff, solo home runs to left were the theme of the first frame. The Saltdogs’ Hunter Clanin started the series with a solo blast over the left field wall to put them up 1-0.
Pitcher Akeem Bostick settled in for the Monarchs, retiring the next three batters to finish the top of the first.
The Monarchs’ bats stayed hot against the Saltdogs, putting up four runs in the bottom of the first. Willie Abreu kicked off the home run-filled first frame by smashing the first pitch over the left field fence to tie the game, 1-1.
Matt Adams joined the home run fun, blasting a towering shot to right field to drive in two runs.
Jan Hernandez, the American Association Batter of the Week, continued his dominance at the plate, driving a deep home run to left center to extend the Monarchs lead to 4-1.
Abreu and Hernandez finished the night with two home runs each. Hernandez recorded back-to-back multi-home run games after hitting for the cycle just two nights ago.
The offensive firepower slowed in the second inning as each starting pitcher retired the side in one, two, three fashion.
In the top of the third, Bostick retired his eighth batter in a row before giving up another solo home run to Hunter Clanin.
The Monarchs answered in the home half of the third with a one out, two-run blast from David Thompson that soared over the left field wall. The Monarchs led 6-2 after three.
In the fourth inning, Lincoln closed the gap on the Monarchs’ lead. The Saltdogs used a one-out double and a broken bat single to set up Matt Goodheart for a three-run home run to bring the score to 6-5.
The Monarchs were able to keep the Saltdogs at bay with another run in the bottom of the fourth. J.C. Escarra reached base to start the inning after drawing a walk. Later in the inning, Gaby Guerrero drove a deep fly ball over the Saltdogs’ center fielder, Hunter Clanin, for a two-out, RBI double to push the lead to 7-5.
The Monarchs added to their lead again in the fifth with a Hernandez, one-out single that led to an RBI double from Kevin Santa.
Bostick settled into a groove on the mound in the fifth and sixth inning, recording his ninth strikeout of the night to close the sixth. Bostick finished his night with six innings pitched, nine strikeouts, seven hits allowed and five earned runs.
Jordan Martison provided relief on the mound for Kansas City to start the seventh, striking out the first two batters he faced and holding the lead, 8-5.
The Monarchs resumed their home run hitting habits with Hernandez’s second home run of the day, with a blast over the left-center fence. Abreu kept the offense rolling with his second home run of the night, with a two-run shot to Home Run Hill in right, extending the lead to 11-5.
Brandon Koch was called upon from the bullpen to hold off a Saltdogs comeback in the top of the eighth. Rain started to fall and Lincoln was able to create some offense and drive in two runs to cut into the Monarchs’ lead, 11-7.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Monarchs poured on more insurance runs with patience at the plate and a single from Guerrero. With the bases loaded, Kevin Santa emptied the sacks with a three RBI double to give the Monarchs a 14-7 advantage.
Brock Gilliam finished for Kansas City in the top of the ninth on the mound. The Saltdogs generated two runs off a home run from Ryan Long to bring the score to 14-9. Glliam brought the Memorial Day game to a close with a strikeout, ending the Saltdogs’ win streak at five.
The Monarchs will continue their homestand with game two of a three game series against the Lincoln Saltdogs at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 31. The game can be heard on the Monarchs Broadcast Network with the pre-game beginning at 6:30 p.m. and the video stream airing on aabaseball.tv.
Tickets to Monarchs games can be purchased by calling 913-328-5618 or by visiting monarchsbaseball.com.