Fans went home happy Sunday, as Harrison Kain delivered a single in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Wichita Wingnuts the 2-1 victory over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. However, the story of the game was starters Jordan Cooper and Tyler Alexander, who each tossed 7 scoreless innings in one of the best pitchers’ duels in the American Association this season.
This was a contest that was dominated by both starters. Cooper began by retiring the first 11 batters he faced and had the minimum retired through four after Devan Ahart singled with two outs in the fourth but was thrown out trying to steal second. In the fifth, he faced his first challenge of the game when the Wichita starter gave up a single and two walks, but got Ryan Pineda to fly out to end the threat. He would give up a base hit to start the sixth, before inducing a double play, and retired the side in order in the seventh.
Jordan Cooper tossed 7-innings of work, allowing 3-hits, 2-walks, and no runs, while striking out 2. However, he left with the game with the score tied at zero.
Alexander was pitching brilliantly as well. After giving up a pair of two out walks in the bottom of the first, he would retire nine of the next 10 batters he faced. The left-hander had a no-hitter going into the fourth, when he allowed back-to-back singles to Martin Medina and Brennen Salgado with two down. However, the left-hander used his fastball brilliantly all day, striking out Richard Prigatano to end the threat.
In the top of the eighth, Cooper came out and James Campbell came on to pitch for Wichita. Kes Carter greeted him with a triple down the line in right field, and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Charlie Valerio.
Alexander remained in the game in the bottom of the eighth, and the Wingnuts would finally get on the board themselves. Kain started the inning by beating out a ground ball for a single, and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. The RedHawks starter struck out Brent Clevlen, but T.J. Mittelstaedt delivered a clutch two-out single to score Kain and tie the game at one.
Seth Harvey came on in the ninth for Wichita and pitched a scoreless inning, setting up the dramatic conclusion to the game. In the bottom of the ninth, Salgado singled with one out and moved to second when Prigatano walked. Next up was Leo Vargas, who singled up the middle, loading the bases with one down. Kain then worked the count full before lighting a single into right field, sending Salgado across the plate with the game-winning run.
Seth Harvey earned his first win of the season. Harrison Kain led the offense, going 3-5 with a run and an RBI. Brennen Salgado was 2-4 with a run scored. The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks mustered just 4-hits against the Wichita pitching staff.
Tomorrow, the Wichita Wingnuts head about an hour north to take on the Salina Stockade. This will be the Stockade’s first games of the season in Salina. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00.
Featured Image by Ed Bailey
By Robert Pannier