AirHogs Pitchers Soar in Double-Header Sweep of Wingnuts
Two teams seemingly headed in opposite directions had a late morning double-header in the American Association, as the 1-4 Texas AirHogs welcomed the 4-1 Wichita Wingnuts in the twin-bill. Wichita had ace Alex Boshers going in the Game 1 and seemed poised to take both games of the DH, but it was the AirHogs pitchers that came up huge, allowing just one-run over the 14 total innings as Texas swept 5-0, 2-1.
In Game 1, Boshers took to the hill looking for his second win of the season, but it was Tyler Bremer (1-0) that proved to be the king of the hill on this day. The right-hander allowed just 3-hits over 6-innings of work, walking 2 and striking out 7. That lowered his ERA to 1.74.
The right-hander found himself in trouble in the first when he gave up a base hit to Harrison Kain to start the game before walking Christian Stringer. With two on and no one out, Bremer coolly struck out the next two batters, before getting Matt Chavez to fly out to end the threat.
In the bottom half of the inning, the AirHogs took the lead. Alvaro Rondon started the inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. He then stole third before scoring on a ground out to make it 1-0 Texas.
In the second, the AirHogs extended their lead to three. Levi Scott started the inning with a single and Ryan Wagner was then hit by a pitch. A sacrifice moved both runners into scoring position and Brian Ragira brought both runners home with a single to make it 3-0.
The bottom of the third saw Beamer Weems walk with one out and Denis Phipps double to put two runners in scoring position. Scott then came to the plate, and delivered his second hit of the game, a single that scored both runners to make it 5-0.
That was plenty enough support for Bremer on this day. After allowing the two runners to reach to start the first, he would not allow another hit until Zac Fisher led off the top of the fifth with a single. It was a brilliant outing that saw the righty throw just 50-pitches in 6-innings of work, 33 of which were strikes.
After watching his teammate pitch a gem in Game 1, James Russell (1-0) took the hill for the Texas AirHogs in Game 2 and was just as brilliant. The lefty allowed 6-hits and no walks in 7-innings of work, allowing one-run while striking out 5.
This contest was a nail-biter from the start as Russell and Wichita starter Ryan Kussmaul would be locked in an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel. Neither team was able to get on the board in the first two-innings but, in the third, Texas took the lead.
Jake Luce started the inning with a double and moved to third on a fly out. Trevor Sealey was then hit by a pitch and stole second base to put two runners into scoring position. Two batters later, Phipps delivered the clutch two-out hit that scored both runners and the AirHogs were up 2-0.
This inning was representative of how well Texas played all day. They executed moving runners into scoring position with incredible precision, and delivered key hits so that they took advantage of the opportunities that they created.
The Wingnuts had no answers for Russell early on. Kain had singled to start the game, then the lefty retired then next nine hitters. His run finally came to an end when Christian Stringer led off the fourth with his first home run of the season. Brent Clevlen then followed with a double, but Russell retired the next three hitters in order to maintain the lead. He allowed a lone hit in each of the final three innings of the game, but Texas held on for the 2-1 victory.
In the two contests, Levi Scott was 4-6 with a run and 2-RBI.
The Wichita Wingnuts return home to take on the Winnipeg Goldeyes Thursday night. Game time is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier