The Winnipeg Goldeyes were looking to get off on the right foot of the American Association Championship series. They needed some big starting pitching if they were going to keep the Wichita Wingnuts bats at bay, and that is what they got Wednesday night, as Edwin Carl blanked the South Division champs for 6.2-innings in the 5-0 victory. That gave the Goldeyes a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
The game remained scoreless after the first inning, as both Carl and Wingnuts starter Tim Brown breezed through the first frame. In the second inning, the Goldeyes took the lead. Brown retired the first batter of the inning, but David Rohm continued his hot post-season, singling to right field. Casio Grider followed with a base hit to right, and Wes Darvill then grounded to short, moving both runners into scoring position. With runners at second and third and two outs, Carlton Tanabe delivered a huge clutch hit, singling to center to score both runners. It was a great start for Tanabe, who had just one-hit in 16 at-bats in the first-round series.
Starting in the sixth, Winnipeg would plate single runs in each of the next three-innings. In the bottom of the sixth, Brown retired Abercrombie to start the frame. That brought Josh Romanski to the plate, who ripped his first homer of this post-season to make it 3-0.
In the seventh, Mike Devine would take over for Brown. He walked Adam Heislser to start the inning. Maikol Gonzalez followed with a sacrifice bunt and Willie Cabrera popped out. Abercrombie then delivered an infield single that put runners at the corners with two outs, and Romanski drove in his second run in as many innings with a base hit into right field. That extended the lead to four.
Gage Smith took over in the eighth for the Wingnuts. He walked Grider to start the inning and Darvill laid down a perfect bunt to move Grider to second. Tanabe then grounded out, moving the runner to third, and Grider scored on a two-out hit by Heisler.
Meanwhile, Carl was pitching a gem. He retired the first six Wichita hitters of the game. Harrison Kain broke that run with a single to start the third, but he would be stranded at second. In the fourth, T.J. Mittelstaedt singled with two-outs, but he would go no further than first base. Carl would then retire the next seven batters he faced. The right-hander allowed just two-hits through the first six-innings of the game.
In the seventh, the Wingnuts got a little rally going. Brent Clevlen started the frame with a single, but was erased by a double-play. Matt Chavez then walked before Nick Van Stratten singled. That would be it for Carl. The right-hander went 6.2 innings, allowing 4-hits, a walk, and no runs. He struck out 5.
Victor Capellan came on in relief. It was his sixth appearance of this post-season. He retired Kain to end the inning and maintain the shutout. In the eighth he retired both batters he faced. Eric Eadington then came on and retired the final four batters of the contest to secure the 5-0 shutout.
Rohm finished 3-4 for the Goldeyes. That makes him 15-23 (.652) in the post-season. Four Winnipeg Goldeyes players had 2-hits, including Heisler, Gonzalez, Romanski, and Grider. Romanski scored a run and drove in 2. Grider scored twice. No Wingnuts player had more than 1-hit.
Game 2 will be Thursday night in Winnipeg. 12-game winner Alex Boshers will start for the Wichita Wingnuts. He will be opposed by Goldeyes ace Kevin McGovern. First pitch is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier