06/16/2012 6:30 AM
By BRIAN BRUCE
WICHITA, Kan. - Former Atlanta Braves outfielder Brandon Jones was clutch in the top of the ninth inning for Kansas City on Friday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, as he launched a solo home run to center off of Wingnuts right-hander Matt Nevarez that gave the T-Bones a 5-4 lead and eventual victory.
The T-Bones scored once in the third inning and once in the fourth to take an early 2-0 lead over the Central Division-leading Wingnuts. In the third, it was second baseman Reid Fronk doing the damage, as he launched a leadoff 410-foot home run to dead center off of Wichita starter Ben Graham. The home run was Fronk’s second. In the next inning, Olathe, Kan., native Gus Milner hit a line drive homer to left-center with two outs, his second, giving the T-Bones a two-run cushion.
Wichita cut the T-Bones’ lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning with a solo home run to right-center off the bat of Mike Conroy.
Kansas City answered right back with one run in the sixth and one in the seventh, scoring on an RBI single by Devin Goodwin and a bases loaded wild pitch, respectively.
Wichita tied the game in the eighth, though. Slugger C.J. Ziegler, who is now hitting .308 on the season and has already enjoyed a 17-game hitting streak, launched a game-tying two-run home run to left-center off of T-Bones right-hander Lucas Irvine. The home run was Ziegler’s seventh of the year and tied the game at 4-4. The homer chased Irvine from the game, and Kansas City turned to lefty Steve Kent. Kent slammed the door on Wichita’s eighth inning, retiring three straight hitters while striking out two. That set the table for Jones’ heroics in the top of the ninth, as he led off and crushed the second pitch he saw from Nevarez over the center field fence for his third homer of the year. Jake Wiley worked a perfect bottom of the ninth, earning his fifth save. Kent picked up the win, improving to 1-2.
The Central Division victory improves Kansas City to 13-14 overall. The T-Bones send left-hander Devin Anderson (1-2; 4.73 ERA) to mound for game two of the three-game series on Saturday night, while the Wingnuts counter with righty Josh Lowey (4-0; 4.01). The game can be heard in the Kansas City market on the KMBZ Business Channel 1660 AM, and worldwide online at www.tbonesbaseball.com.