Late Rally Sends Wichita Wingnuts to 7-6 Victory
For the second straight night, the Wichita Wingnuts used a late rally, and then scored a run in the top half of the final inning to defeat the Kansas City T-Bones. Last night, the team got four runs in the top of the ninth to erase a 5-1 deficit, then scored a run in the top of the 14th to win 6-5. Tuesday night, Wichita trailed 6-4 entering the eighth, then scored two to tie it before getting a run in the ninth to win 7-6.
The T-Bones got off to a great scoring three in the bottom of the first. Starlin Rodriguez singled to start the inning and moved to second on a single by Vladimir Frias. Tyler Massey walked and Rodriguez scored during the at-bat on a wild pitch. Antony Gallas followed with a single that scored Frias and Kansas City was up 2-0 and there was still no one out. Robby Kuzdale’s two-out bases loaded walk scored Massey to make it 3-0.
Wichita came right back with three of their own in the top half of the second. Kansas City starter Jordan Cooper retired the first two hitters of the inning but Monday’s hero, Richard Prigatano, kept the inning alive with a double. Harrison Kain followed with a single to score Prigatano, and he scored when Leo Vargas hit his second home run in as many games to tie the score.
In the top of the third the Wingnuts took the lead. Brent Clevlen started the inning and took two pitches before drilling his third homer of the year. That made it 4-3.
The lead did not last long as Kansas City scored two in the bottom half of the third. Jake Blackwood walked and Steve Swingle singled to put two on with no one out. Brandon Tierney laid down a sacrifice to move both runners into scoring position. Kuzdale walked to load them, and Blackwood scored when Brett Wiley grounded out. A single by Rodriguez scored Swingle and the T-Bones were back out in front.
In the bottom of the fourth Tyler Massey homered to start the frame. It was his fourth homerun of the year and made the score 6-4.
Cooper left after six with a two-run lead, turning the game over to the bullpen. Josh Tols pitched a 1-2-3 seventh, but in the eighth Wichita was able to tie the score. Martin Medina, playing in his first game for the Wingnuts, walked and moved to second on a single by Dustin Geiger. Prigitano walked and the bases were loaded with no one out. Kain grounded into a fielder’s choice to score a run and Vargas tied the game with a single.
That sent the game to the ninth. Zack Cox was the first hitter and he walked. He quickly moved to third on back-to-back wild pitches, putting the go-ahead run at third with no one out. Clevlen was the next hitter, and he delivered that go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly.
Closer Frankie Reed (2-1) had come on in the eighth and finished out the game for the win. A night after pitching three outstanding innings in the extra inning affair, he gave two more Tuesday. It was a gutsy performance.
Vargas is red hot of late, going 3-4 with a run and 3-RBI. That extended his hitting streak to five, a span where he has gone 11-23. Clevlen was 2-4 with a run and 2-RBI. Vladimir Frias had 3-hits and a run scored for Kansas City.
These two teams finish their three-game series with an 11:05 start tomorrow. The Wingnuts have won their first series of the season and now go for the sweep. Jon Link (2-2, 5.32) starts for the Wichita Wingnuts against Casey Barnes (1-2).
By Robert Pannier