05/19/2016 10:52 PM
KANSAS CITY, Kansas - The Texas AirHogs opened their 2016 regular season in Kansas City Thursday, falling to the T-Bones by a final of 9-4. Juan Sanchez and Burt Reynolds each homered but their efforts fell short on a drizzly opener at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
Cody Hebner got the ball to start for Texas. The Auburn, Washington native surrendered a leadoff double in the bottom of the 1st and would board 3 of the first 4 he faced. He would surrender 2 runs in the first frame, 1 earned on a sac fly and 1 unearned on a passed ball, before finding a groove and setting down 13 straight.
The AirHog offense struggled early against KC starter Casey Barnes. With light rain falling intermittently, he held the squad scoreless until the 6th, when 2B Brian Bistagne led off with a triple to left center. CF Michael Hur would then draw a full count walk to set the table for SS Juan Sanchez. Already 2-for-2 with 2 singles, Sanchez took the first pitch he saw into the left field bullpen to put the AirHogs on top 3-2. LF Burt Reynolds followed that up with a mammoth solo homerun of his own to extend the lead to 2.
The T-Bones were ready to respond though. They used a 2-run blast of their own off the bat Anthony Gallas to tie the game in the bottom of the 6th. They would then add a pair of 2-out runs with reliever Carlos Misell on the mound later in the inning to establish a 6-4 lead.
Pitching in the 7th, AirHog southpaw Ryan Atwood induced a key bases-loaded double play to keep it a 2-run game. But the T-Bones were able to get to him in the 8th, chasing him from the game after 2 walks, an HBP and a pair of RBI singles. They scored 7 straight from the bottom of the 6th to the bottom of the 8th to win 9-4.
Hebner took the loss, while Barnes got the win. Robby Kuzdale and Christian Torres each finished with multiple hits for the T-Bones (1-0). Sanchez reached base four times for the AirHogs.
The two teams meet again tomorrow at 7:05. A live broadcast of the game will be available through airhogsbaseball.com. Lefty Griffin Russell is expected to start for the AirHogs.
The team opens its regular season home schedule in Grand Prairie May 23rd vs. Fargo.