The Wichita Wingnuts were on the second day of their three week road trip, but found this day to be no better than the first, as left-hander Chris Nunn allowed just two runs over 6.1-innings as the St. Paul Saints downed the Wingnuts, 3-2. The victory gave the Saints a sweep of the two-game series, making it the first time in the team’s history that they swept a season series from a team where they played home and away series against them during the year, as the Saints finished 5-0.
Wichita looked like they would get on the board first when Logan Watkins and Abel Nieves drew back-to-back walks with one out in the top of the first. However, Saints starter Chris Nunn got Tony Thomas to fly out before John Nester struck out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the first, the St. Paul Saints would get on the board. Max Murphy singled into right field to start the frame. Two batters later Burt Reynolds walked. That brought Brady Shoemaker to the plate, who lined a ball down the left field line for a double which brought Murphy home and sent Reynolds to third. The Saints had the chance to blow the game open, but Wingnuts starter Charlie Gillies got Zach Walters to pop out before getting a fly ball to end the inning. That kept the St. Paul lead to just one.
In the second, St. Paul loaded the bases, but would come away empty-handed. The Saints would load the bases in the third, but this time they would add a run. Shoemaker and Walters started the inning with back-to-back singles, and Dante Bichette, Jr. loaded the bases when he beat out a ground ball to third for an infield single. Matt Snyder grounded out to first, bringing home Shoemaker while moving both runners into scoring position, but Gillies would come up big again, getting a ground ball and a strike out to end the inning. St. Paul led 2-0.
The Saints extended their lead to three in the fifth. Walters led off with a single and moved to third when Logan Trowbridge’s throw to first was wild. A sacrifice fly by Justin O’Conner brought home Walters to make it 3-0.
Chris Nunn (3-1) found himself in a little trouble in third when he gave up back-to-back singles to start the inning, but Zach Nehrir was thrown out trying to steal third. Nunn then got a fly ball before fanning Tony Thomas to end the inning. Nunn was in complete control over the next three innings, allowing a lone hit.
Wichita would not threaten again until the seventh when they would get back in the game. Trowbridge started the inning with a single and moved to third when Leo Vargas doubled two batters later. That brought a call to the bullpen, as Mike Devine came on. Nick Rotola poked a single into right to score Trowbridge and Nehrir cut the deficit to one with an infield single. Ken Frosch came on and got Logan Watkins to fly out for the second out.
Beck Wheeler relieved and struck out Nieves to preserve the one run lead. Wheeler returned for the eighth, and Wichita would put two runners on base, but the reliever struck out the side to end the rally. In the ninth, Zach Jones came in looking to close out the game. He stuck out two for his four save of the season.
Chris Nunn went 6.1-innings, allowing 6-hits and 2-earned runs. He walked 2 and struck out 5. Max Murphy, Brady Shoemaker, and Zach Walters were each 2-4 with a run scored. Shoemaker also drove in a run. Logan Trowbridge and Leo Vargas led the Wingnuts, each going 2-4 with a run.
The Wichita Wingnuts will now take their traveling group to Sioux Falls to begin a three-game series with the Canaries. The St. Paul Saints welcome the Texas AirHogs for a three-game set.
By Robert Pannier