The Wichita Wingnuts entered Friday night’s game as the hottest team in the American Association, but DJ Brown proved to be the one with the hot hand, holding Wichita to 2-runs in 7-innings of work on the way to a 6-3 Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks victory. The loss snapped the Wingnuts six game win streak, and gave Charlie Gillies his first loss since joining Wichita.
After a scoreless first inning, the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks jumped out in front in the second. Tommy Mendonca started the inning with a double, but looked like he would get no further when Gillies struck out the next two batters. However, the third out proved to be elusive, as Tim Colwell singled to score Mendonca to make it 1-0. Brennan Metzger then doubled and both runners moved up on a double-steal. Maikol Gonzalez plated Colwell with a sharp single up the middle and Devan Ahart brought home Metzger with a single. That put the RedHawks up 3-0.
Fargo-Moorhead added to their lead in the fourth thanks, once again, to the two out rally. Gillies retired the first two batters of the inning but a walk to Ahart kept the frame going. He then stole second and scored when Keury De La Cruz delivered a clutch single to left extending the lead to four.
DJ Brown had dominated the Wingnuts through the first four innings. He gave up a two out double in the second, then retired 10 in a row.
Wichita would finally figure Brown out in the fifth. Back-to-back singles by Tony Thomas and Logan Trowbridge got the inning started. Brown struck out Ryne Willard, but Hunter Clanin followed with a double into the alley in center, bringing Thomas home to cut the deficit to three. Brown fanned Leo Vargas for the second out, but he could not record the third before Trowbridge scored on a Logan Watkins single. That made it 4-2.
The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks responded in the bottom half of the inning, thanks to another two-out rally. After Gillies retired the first two batters on ground outs, Yhoxian Medina reached on an error. A balk moved him to second before Steve Zimmerman walked. That brought Colwell to the plate, who singled up the middle scoring Medina to extend the lead back to three. That would also be it for Gillies, as Jackson Sigman came on to close out the frame.
In the sixth, the RedHawks restored their lead back to four. Ahart and De La Cruz singled with one out and Ahart scored on a sacrifice fly by Leobaldo Pina.
Brown (3-0) recorded two more scoreless innings before his night was over. The Fargo-Moorhead starter went 7-innings, allowing 7-hits, a walk, and 2-runs scored. He struck out 6 to remain undefeated.
Travis Ballew came on in the eighth and the Wingnuts would put together their own two out rally. With two down, Thomas reached first on a strike out, wild pitch. Thomas then stole second and moved to third when the throw was wild. He would score on a wild pitch to make it 6-3, but Wichita would get no closer.
Andrew Woeck would come on in the ninth and retire the side, striking out two of the batters he faced for his first save of the season.
Tim Colwell was 2-4 with a run and an RBI. Devan Ahart finished 3-4 with 2-runs and an RBI for the RedHawks. Tony Thomas led the Wichita Wingnuts, going 2-4 with 2-runs scored.
This series continues on Saturday as Tyler Kane returns to make his first start of the season. Will Solomon (3-3, 4.79) will go for the RedHawks. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00.
By Robert Pannier