Early Outburst Carries Laredo Lemurs to 6-2 Win over Wichita Wingnuts: Wingnuts Wire
In a series where many (including this writer) felt that the Laredo Lemurs needed to make a statement that they were on equal footing with the Wichita Wingnuts, the Lemurs finally let their voices be heard. After dropping the first two games of the series at home, Laredo rode 2-run innings in the first three frames of the game, and then watched Josh Strawn hold the Wingnuts down for the 6-2 win. The victory gave the Lemurs a seven game lead over the Lincoln Saltdogs in the Wild Card race, and reduced their magic number to two games.
Laredo used three early rallies against Wingnuts starter Jason Van Skike to jump out to a 6-1 lead. In the first inning they made a statement right away that this was going to be their night. Nick Van Stratten singled to lead off the inning, and Denis Phipps then took the first offering from Van Skike and deposited it over the fence for his 14th home run of the year.
In the bottom of the second Devin Goodwin and Byron Wiley led off the inning with singles. Carlos Ramirez then lined a double into the gap to bring the two runners home and the score was quickly 4-0.
The Wingnuts got on the board in the third when Jared McDonald scored on a single by Abel Nieves, but the Lemurs countered with two of their own in the bottom half. John Alonso singled to lead off the inning, and one out later Goodwin singled to put runners at first and second with one out. After Wiley struck out, Ramirez hit a hot shot that went off the glove of Nieves scoring both Alonso and Goodwin.
The 6-1 lead was plenty enough run-support to back the pitching of Josh Strawn on this night. The Wingnuts had become legendary for responding to opponent rallies with huge rallies of their own, but that was not going to happen on this night. Strawn responded to rallies by his own team by shutting down the Wingnuts, only yielding one run through the first six innings.
Brent Dean finally got the Wingnuts back on the scoreboard in the top of the seventh when he led off with a home run, his second of the season. Two outs later Strawn loaded the bases with walks to Jake Luce and Brent Clevlen and a single by Nieves. That was it for the right-hander. His night ended with him giving up seven hits and three walks in 6.2 innings of work, while striking out five.
Scott Weismann took over Strawn and got Victor Diaz to fly out to left field to end the threat. The Wingnuts were back within four, but they would get no closer. Weismann gave up two hits in the eighth, but was aided by Carlo Testa being thrown out trying to steal second. In the ninth Caleb Graham took over and struck out the side to end the game.
Strawn was the winner moving his record to 6-8. Van Skike (11-5) fell in his first attempt at winning his league leading 12th game of the year. The two teams will face off again Sunday evening as Frank Del Valle goes for his first win of the season against Tyler Pearson.
By Robert Pannier
Senior Baseball Editor
Member of the IBWAA