It looked more like a football game between Kansas and Texas on Sunday evening, as the Wichita Wingnuts downed the Cleburne Railroaders, 13-6. Angel Reyes drove in five and the 2-5 hitters in the lineup combined to go 9-18 with 9-runs scored. Seth Harvey came out of the bullpen following a 90 minute rain delay to toss 3.2-innings of scoreless relief for his seventh win of the season.
The game was scoreless through the top of the second, then the rain came leading to a lengthy delay. When the game resumed, the Cleburne Railroaders would take the lead with two runs in the bottom of the second. Angelo Gumbs got ahead of the count 2-0, then drilled the third pitch he saw from Tyler Kane for a solo homer. That was his third homer of the year. Hunter Clanin reached on an error and moved to third on a wild pitch. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Cameron Monger to make it a 2-0 game.
The Wichita Wingnuts responded with five runs in the top of the third. Roman Gomez took over for Dylan Mouzakes following the rain delay and issued a walk to Logan Trowbridge before giving up a single to Logan Watkins. Zach Nehrir drove home Trowbridge with a single before Abel Nieves singled to load the bases. Angel Reyes then hit a ground ball to short. The shortstop threw to third to gun down Nehrir but Watkins scored on the play to tie the score. After Tony Thomas walked, Chase Simpson singled up the middle driving in two to give the Wingnuts the lead. John Nester drove home the final run of the inning with a base hit, making it a 5-2 game.
Cleburne got one of those runs back in the bottom half of the inning. Back to back walks to KC Huth and Alex Polston started the inning and Trevor Sealey laid down a sacrifice to move both runners into scoring position. A wild pitch brought Huth home before Levi Scott walked and that would be it for Kane. Seth Harvey came on and retired the final two batters without another run-scoring as Wichita left the third leading 5-3.
In the top of the fourth the Wingnuts extended their lead to four. Nehrir started the inning with a single and moved to second on a ground out. He scored on a Reyes double and Reyes scored when Thomas singled up the middle. That gave Wichita a 7-3 lead.
In the top of the sixth the lead became five. Nehrir singled with one out and stole second before Nieves walked. Both runners moved up on a double steal and Nehrir scored on a ground out by Reyes.
While the Wichita offense was putting up runs, Seth Harvey (7-1) was shutting down the Railroaders hitters. He allowed one hit over his 3.2 innings of work, striking out five.
In the top of the eighth, the Wichita Wingnuts would put this game away. Back to back walks to Trowbridge and Watkins started the inning before Nehrir was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Trowbridge came home on a single by Nieves and Reyes followed with a two run single to extend the lead to eight. Later in the inning, Nestor would add a two run single to give Wichita a 13-3 lead.
Brady Bowen had come on in the seventh and tossed two scoreless innings but in the ninth Cleburne would finally get to him. Michael Gulino doubled to start the inning and scored when Polston doubled two batters later. With two down, Scott hit his 14th home run of the season to cut the deficit to seven, but the Railroaders would get no closer.
Angel Reyes led the Wichita offense, going 2-5 with 3-runs scored and 5-RBI. Zach Nehrir had 3-hits and scored 3-runs and John Nester drove in 3-runs. Everyone one but Nick Rotola had at least one hit.
The victory moved the Wingnuts a game behind the Kansas City T-Bones for the second place position in the South Division. The final contest of this four game set is scheduled for Monday evening. Travis Banwart (6-3, 2.49) will go for the Wingnuts against Michael Gunn (3-5, 4.03). First pitch is scheduled for 6:06.
By Robert Pannier