The Wichita Wingnuts have put up good numbers offensively this season, but have not really had a break out performance. That performance occurred Saturday night as Wichita pounded out 18 hits in defeating the Texas AirHogs, 15-3. Abel Nieves was 4-6 with a run and 4-RBI and everyone but one member of the Wingnuts lineup had at least one hit in the contest.
After Jared Wilson tossed a scoreless first inning, the Wichita Wingnuts scored two in the bottom half of the frame. Logan Watkins drew a walk against Tyler Matzek to start the inning, but was replaced on the base path on a fielder’s choice, putting Logan Trowbridge at first. Trowbridge moved to second on a ground out and scored when Tony Thomas lined a hit off the glove of shortstop Casio Grider. Thomas then scored when Zach Nehrir lined a ball into the gap in right-center that he legged out for a double. John Lester followed with an opposite field single, scoring Nehrir to make it 3-0.
Wichita added a run in the second. Leo Vargas singled to left with one down. Watkins walked for the second time in the game and Vargas scored on a single by Abel Nieves.
An inning later the lead became five. Nehrir singled to start the frame, and moved to second on a ground out and third on a fly ball. He scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-0.
In the fourth, the Wichita Wingnuts took command of this game. Vargas walked to start the frame and moved to second on a single by Watkins. Trowbridge followed with a single that scored Vargas to extend the lead to six. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position before Nieves singled into center to score the two. That made it 8-0.
Wilson tossed two solid innings in his first appearance for Wichita since rejoining the team. Seth Harvey tossed two shutout innings through the fourth, but Texas would finally get on the scoreboard in the fifth. Harvey retired the first two batters, but Chu Fujia singled to left to keep the inning alive and Dillon Thomas followed by hitting the first pitch from the Wingnuts reliever for a two run homer over the wall in left-center field.
In the sixth, the Wichita Wingnuts blew the game open with seven runs. Abel Nieves started the inning with a double and scored when Thomas followed with a line drive that rolled to the wall for a triple. Nehrir singled to right to drive home Thomas and it was 10-2. Ryne Willard reached on an error and Isaiah Aluko drove home Nehrir with a single to right field. Vargas followed with a single to right to load the bases, and Watkins drove home two more runs with a single into right field. Vargas scored on a sacrifice fly by Trowbridge and Watkins came home on a double to center by Nieves. That extended the Wingnuts lead to 13.
The AirHogs would add one more run. In the top of the seventh, Lu Zhenhong singled to start the inning and moved to third on two passed balls. Lu scored on a single by Chu and it was 15-3, but Texas would get no closer.
Logan Trowbridge not only scored 2-runs and had 2-RBI, but he also tossed two scoreless innings of relief. Abel Nieves finished 4-6 with a run and 4-RBI. Zach Nehrir was 3-5 with 3-runs and 2-RBI. Chu Fujia was 2-4 with a run and an RBI for Texas.
These two teams will close out their three game set tomorrow as the Wingnuts will go for the sweep. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05.
By Robert Pannier