In Game 2 of the four-game series between the Wichita Wingnuts and Winnipeg Goldeyes, a tough outing for left-hander Anthony Capra gave the Goldeyes an early 4-1 lead, and they took the contest 8-7 after a ninth-inning rally by Wichita fell just short. It was a night where the home team used 11-walks to aid in the win, and three Winnipeg batters drove in two-runs apiece in the victory.
In the top of the first, the Wichita Wingnuts took the lead when they plated a run against Edwin Carl. Christian Stringer singled to center to start the game and T.J. Mittelstaedt singled to left two batters later. A fielder’s choice put runners at the corners and Martin Medina singled to right field to drive home Stringer, making the score 1-0.
In the bottom of the first, Capra struggled to find the strike zone in his return from the disabled list. Maikol Gonzalez walked to start the inning, then moved to second on a wild pitch. Josh Romanski then walked, and following a wild pitch that moved up both runners, Willie Cabrera walked to load the bases. Reggie Abercrombie then lined a single into right field that scored Gonzalez, and Jacob Rogers followed with a double to center that brought home Romanski and Cabrera, and just five batters into the game it was 3-1. A sacrifice fly by David Rohm made it 4-1.
The Wingnuts responded with a run in the top of the second. Carl retired the first two batters of the inning but Leo Vargas reached on an error to keep the inning alive. With Vargas at second, Stringer ripped a single to left that brought the runner home to make it 4-2.
The Goldeyes extended their lead back to three right away in the bottom half of the inning. Capra walked the first three batters of the frame to load the bases. Abercrombie’s sacrifice fly brought home Gonzalez, and Rogers then walked to load the bases again. That would be it for Capra. Jesse Pratt came on to get the final two batters of the inning without any further damage occurring, but the score was now 5-2 in favor of Winnipeg.
Neither team would score over the next two frames, as Carl looked especially good. In the fifth, the Wingnuts would cut the deficit to one. Back-to-back singles by Zack Cox and Mittelstaedt with one out and a wild pitch put two runners in scoring position. Two batters later Medina lined a single up the middle that plated two and it was 5-4.
Like they had done in the previous two innings where the Wingnuts scored, the Winnipeg Goldeyes scored right away in the home half of the inning. A double by Wes Darvill started the frame and Casio Grider followed with a double of his own that scored Darvill. Next up was Tanner Murphy, who hit a fly ball to center that Harrison Kain made a great play on for the first out of the inning. Sadly, the All-Star was hurt on the play and had to come out of the game. Gonzaelz then singled to left to score Grider and it was a three-run Winnipeg lead once again.
In the top of the eighth, the Goldeyes added an insurance run, which would wind up being the difference in the game. Chase Johnson took over for Pratt and retired the first two batters of the inning, but a back-to-back walks to Cabrera and Abercrombie kept the inning alive. Rohm then singled to center to score Abercrombie and the score was 8-4.
Winnipeg looked like they had this game in hand. Eric Eadington had taken over with two outs in the eighth and retired the final batter of the inning, and the hard-throwing left-hander returned for the ninth. He retired the first two batters of the frame, but then hit Cox, gave up a single to Mittelstaedt, and hit Matt Chavez to load the bases. Next up was Medina who grounded down to first base, but Rogers made an error that scored two runs and kept the inning going. Brent Dean singled to load the bases again, and Richard Prigatano followed with a ground ball that he beat out for a single. That scored Chavez and kept the bases loaded. This inning looked like it was going to be a disaster, but Eadington remained calm, striking out Brennen Salgado to end the game for his eighth save of the season. Carl (8-5) earned the victory and Capra (0-2) took the loss.
Abercrombie, Rogers, and Rohm each had 2-RBI for the Winnipeg Goldeyes. Gonzalez scored 2-runs, as did Abercrombie. Mittelstaedt and Medina were each 3-5 for the Wichita Wingnuts. Medina drove in 3-runs, and Mittelsteadt and Cox each scored twice.
Game 3 of this four-game set is Saturday evening. Eddie Medina (5-3, 4.88) will get the start for the Wichita Wingnuts. Mikey O’Brien (8-4, 4.80) goes for the Winnipeg Goldeyes. Game time is 6:00.
By Robert Pannier