Jon Link Continues to Dominate as Wichita Wingnuts Win 3-1
Not since Douglass MacArthur returned to the Philippines in World War II has the return of one man been so profoundly influencing. Ok, that might have been severely over the top, but Dr. Jon Link’s return to the Wichita Wingnuts and Wingnuts University continues to be a marvel, as the right-hander moved his record to 4-0 after his fourth start. The Wingnuts won 3-1 behind six outstanding innings by the Wichita starter, and increased their lead over the Joplin Blasters to 2.5 games.
Link was opposed by the Sioux Falls Canaries Stephen Bougher, who pitched well in this contest. He had the unfortunate task of trying to outduel Link, which has proved to be a monumental task. Both pitchers kept the game scoreless through the first two innings, but in the third the Wichita Wingnuts finally broke through against Bougher.
Luis Hernandez led off the frame with his 18th double of the season and moved to third on a single by Harrison Kain. Jay Ray followed with a single that scored Hernandez, and David Espinosa plated Kain with a single of his own. The first four batters of the inning all reached base before Bougher would finally record an out. Starlin Rodriguez drove in the last run of the inning with a sacrifice fly that scored Ray and it was 3-0 Wingnuts.
That was all the runs that the Sioux Falls Canaries would allow. Bougher (2-2) pitched brilliantly in his final three full innings. For the game he went 6.1 innings, allowing 7 hits, 2 walks and 3 earned runs. He struck out 2 in his 118 pitch performance. Josh Ferrell pitched the final 1.2 innings, allowing a hit and a walk, while striking out 2.
The story was Link (4-0) however. The Wichita Wingnuts starter kept the Canaries off the scoreboard through the first five innings. In his four starts since returning, Dr. Link has allowed just one earned run in the first five innings of a game, a span of 20 innings. He did finally allow a run in the sixth on a David Bergin sacrifice fly, but left after 6 innings allowing just 4 hits, 2 walks and 1 earned run. He also struck out 6 giving him 23 strikeouts in 22.2 innings pitched since returning. It was Link’s 11th straight win dating back to last season.
From there the Wingnuts bullpen put the hammer down. Daniel Bennett and Frankie Reed each pitched a scoreless inning of relief. Bennett struck out 2. In the ninth Dakota Watts came in and slammed the door, retiring the side in order for his sixth save of the season.
This is simply the way they draw it up at Wingnuts U. Get a solid start, timely hitting, and let the bullpen close the door. It worked to perfection tonight and moved the Wichita Wingnuts to 11 games over .500 for the first time this season.
By Robert Pannier