By Michael Dixon
LINCOLN–(Sept. 7)–Nate Samson picked up his first Saltdogs hit and drove in two runs, but the ‘Dogs lost 5-2 to the Kansas City Monarchs in Game 1 of the West Division Playoff Series at Haymarket Park on Wednesday night.
Kansas City (1-0) opened the scoring on Ryan Grotjohn’s two-out solo homer in the 1st inning. The Monarchs added four more in the 7th inning on Pete Kozma’s two-run double, followed by a passed ball to score Gio Brusa and Mallex Smith’s two-out RBI single.
Samson’s single extended Lincoln’s rally in the 9th, scoring two runs to make it 5-2 and bringing the tying run to the plate. Josh Altmann struck out and Welington Dotel grounded out, and the Monarchs held on to win their seventh consecutive playoff game.
Greg Minier got the start for Lincoln (0-1) and allowed five runs on seven hits over 6 and 1/3rd innings. Kansas City’s Matt Hall pitched seven innings and allowed just one hit with one walk over eight strikeouts – bringing his season total to 20 scoreless innings against the Saltdogs.
Justin Byrd had Lincoln’s only multi-hit game, while Ryan Long and Dotel each joined Samson by collecting a hit. The ‘Dogs did not have a baserunner in scoring position until stranding two at second and third to end the 8th before a 9th-inning rally led to Samson’s single.
Lincoln used three relievers in the game. Matt Cronin worked the remainder of the 7th inning in place of Minier, allowing one hit over 2/3rd scoreless innings, while Carter Hope tossed a scoreless 8th and Steffon Moore tossed a scoreless 9th.
The ‘Dogs trail the best-of-three series 1-0, and Game 2 is scheduled for Friday in Kansas City. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m., and pregame coverage begins at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN Lincoln 101.5 FM/1480 AM.