The Chavez-Medina Combo Helps Lead Wingnuts Comeback, 4-3
A third of the way through Friday evening’s game, the Wichita Wingnuts found themselves trailing 3-0. However, the team battled back, cutting the deficit to one before scoring two runs in the seventh on their way to a 4-3 victory over the Texas AirHogs. Ryan Kussmaul rebounded to pitch six solid innings for Wichita and Mike Devine earned his first save of the season.
The AirHogs grab the early lead by scoring single runs in each of the first three innings. In the bottom of the first, Alvaro Rondon walked to start the inning and moved to second on a ground out. He would later move to third on a base hit by Levi Scott and scored on a fielder’s choice by Denis Phipps.
An inning later the lead would become two. Kussmaul retired the first two batters of the inning but Michael Miller drilled his first home run of the year to make the score 2-0.
In the bottom of the third, Rondon would get the rally started once again, this time beating out an infield single, then stealing second base, before scoring on a two-out hit by Phipps. That extended the lead to three and it looked like Texas could not be stopped.
However, the Wingnuts responded with a run in the top of the fourth to get themselves back into the game. Matt Chavez delivered a ground rule double that bounced over the right field fence, and moved to third on a ground out by Brennen Salgado. With two down, Wichita was in need of a big hit and Martin Medina delivered just that with a double into left-center that scored Chavez to cut the deficit to two.
In the top of the sixth, the Wingnuts made this a one run game. Once again, it was the combination of Chavez and Medina that produced a run. With one down, Chavez hit his second ground rule double of the game. Two batters later, Medina lined a base hit into left field that brought home the runner on the deficit was one.
In the top of the seventh, Wichita would take their first lead of the game. James Russell came out for Texas and was relieved by T.J. Bozeman. After retiring the first batter of the inning, Harrison Kain walked and moved to second when Christian Stringer drew a walk of his own. Both runners would move up on a double steal, and Kain came home on a wild pitch. With Stringer standing at third and two down, Brent Clevlen singled in the left field to score the runner and give the Wingnuts their first lead of the game.
From there, it was the job of the Wichita bullpen to hold the lead in that is exactly what they did. Jesse Pratt pitched a scoreless seventh and James Campbell held the lead through the eighth. In the ninth, the Wingnuts turned to Mike Devine looking to get his first save of the season, and he delivered a perfect inning of work to close out the game.
Ryan Kussmaul (2-2) allowed 7-hits and 3-runs in 6-innings of work, striking out 5. Matt Chavez finished 2-4 with 2-runs and Martin Medina was 3-4 with 2-RBI. Denis Phipps went 2-4 with 2-RBI for Texas, and Michael Miller was 3-4 with a run and an RBI.
These two teams conclude their three-game series tomorrow evening. Eddie Medina (2-0, 2.84) goes for Wichita looking to remain undefeated. Texas has not named their starter. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier