Late Rally Gives Wichita Wingnuts the Win: Wingnuts Wire
The Wichita Wingnuts won their 50th game the season, and they did it in dramatic fashion. The pitcher’s duel came down to the ninth inning where the Wingnuts found another way to win the game. Something that they have just become experts at – winning.
Frank Del Valle made his third start for Wichita and had his first quality start. In his previous two starts he gave up five runs each, but not tonight. Instead, he gave up just one run on six hits and four walks, yet struck out seven batters. He earned a no-decision, but gave them a quality start.
Brian Ernst also got a no-decision, going seven innings, giving up three hits and four walks. He gave up just one run and struck out four. This was Ernst’s sixth straight start giving up three runs or less.
Del Valle was relieved in the seventh by Mike Zouzalik. In his one inning of work he struck out the side and gave up a hit. Alex Hinshaw relieved Zouzalik and pitched a perfect eighth. For Fargo-Moorhead, Erik Draxton started the eighth, but after getting two outs he gave up a walk and a hit and was relieved by Joe Harris. Harris was able to get out of the inning, but got himself into a trouble in the ninth.
Heading into the ninth the game was tied, but Harris found himself in trouble quickly. C Chris McMurray led off with a single, but was forced on a fielder’s choice, putting Chris McClendon at first. David Amberson then walked, and both runners were running with Jake Luce at the plate, successfully stealing the base, McClendon to third and Amberson to second. Luce then walked and Harris’ night was over.
Kevin Fuqua relieved Harris and on a 1-2 pitch gave up a single to Ryan Khoury that scored both McClendon and Amberson, and the Wingnuts were winning 3-1. The two runs made a winner of Hinshaw who moved to 2-1 on the season. Closer Matt Nevarez came on in the bottom of the ninth and gave up a hit and a walk before he was able to close out the ninth for his 19th save of the season.
The win kept the Wingnuts 8.5 games ahead of Laredo in the South Division, and all but eliminated the RedHawks in the North. It is going to take an absolute miracle for them to get back into the race, and fortunately for them both the Winnipeg Goldeyes and St. Paul Saints are struggling, but they need to take advantage of the slumps of these two teams, but their failure to do so has left them nearly done for the season.
By Robert Pannier
Senior Baseball Editor
Member of the IBWAA