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Long ball leads Lincoln late

07/20/2016 10:23 PM -

LINCOLN, Neb. — The Lincoln Saltdogs got a home run in the seventh inning Wednesday night, and held on to beat Kansas City, 3-2, at Haymarket Park.

With the game tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Luis Alen punched a solo home run against Kansas City reliever Johnny Shuttlesworth, giving the Saltdogs a 3-2 lead. Lincoln had a chance to add to that lead later in the inning. With one out Rene Leveret walked and stole second base, his fifth of the season. That put a runner in scoring position for Austin Darby. Shuttlesworth (2-4) forced him to ground out and end the threat. Alen finished 3 for 4 with one run scored and brought home all three Saltdogs’ runs.

In the fifth inning, T-Bones starter Jordan Cooper retired the first two batters of the inning. He walked Connor Teykl, and Robby Kuzdale followed with a double putting runners on second and third with two outs. Alen lined a ball into centerfield, scoring Teykl and Kuzdale giving Lincoln the 2-0 lead through five. Those were the only two runs surrendered by Cooper in an otherwise efficient day. He allowed six hits, two runs, walked one and struck out five in 6 innings.

The T-Bones answered almost immediately against Saltdogs starter Ryan O’Sullivan. Dalton Wheat led off the sixth with a single before Tyson Gillies hit an opposite field home run to left, and tied the game at 2-2. Those were the only two runs, and two of the three hits O’Sullivan surrendered in 6 innings.

Lincoln's’ bullpen shut the T-Bones down in the final three frames, though. Jeff McKenzie (3-3), who relieved O’Sullivan, allowed hits to Nate Tenbrink and Wheat in the eighth. After Wheat swiped second in the eighth, his first professional stolen base, Clayton Cook took over for McKenzie. Cook’s appearance was short-lived but effective. The only batter he faced was Starlin Rodriguez and Cook struck out Rodriguez, stranding Wheat on second. A one-run lead is all that the All-Star Evan Reed would need. Reed (14) shut the door on the T-Bones with three quick outs.

Kansas City (26-32) concludes the three-game series with Lincoln (33-24) Thursday at 6:35 p.m. All of the action can be heard at