At one point this season, Wichita Wingnuts starter Tim Brown had a 6.75 ERA and was really struggling to command the strike zone as the Professor has been known to do. The entire pitching staff was struggling and Brown was trapped in the malaise as well. Since then, Brown has done what comes natural to him, using his intellect to help him retool and lead this staff as Wingnuts’ fans have become accustomed. Tuesday night he won his fifth straight game, dominating the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks for eight-innings in leading Wichita to the 10-1 victory.
This was a contest that the Wichita Wingnuts were in command of from the very start. Neither team was able to score in the first, but in the second the Wingnuts began a run where they scored in each of the next three innings.
In the second, Matt Chavez started the top of the inning off with a double. Harrison Kain was the next batter and he lined a triple to the wall, scoring Chavez easily to make it 1-0. Brennen Salgado hit a sacrifice fly that scored Kain and it was 2-0 Wichita.
In the top of the third the visitors took a commanding lead. Christian Stringer singled with one out and moved to third on a base hit by Zack Cox. T.J. Mittelstaedt followed by grounding back to the pitcher who threw out Stringer for the second out of the inning. That made it first and second with two outs, and it looked like RedHawks starter Brian Ernst may get out of the inning unscathed. That was not to be the case. Chavez worked the count full before drawing a walk to bring Kain to the plate. For the second time in the contest he drilled a ball to the wall in right and raced into third with a triple. All three runners scored to make it 5-0. An error by the right fielder allowed Kain to come in to score and it was 6-0.
In the fourth, Wichita added one more run. Brent Dean started the inning by drawing a walk and Leo Vargas followed with a single. A double by Stringer scored Dean to make it 7-0.
That was plenty enough run support for the Professor. Brown was absolutely dominant all game long. He retired the first eight batters of the game, and allowed just four-hits through the first seven-innings. Amazingly, three of the hitters who reached on singles were erased on double-plays as Brown continued to give Fargo-Moorhead no chance to get back in this contest.
In the eighth, the RedHawks finally got on the board. K.D. Kang singled to start the inning, and Dustin Geiger followed by grounding into a fielder’s choice. An error allowed him to move to second and he got to the third on a ground out. A single by Ryan Wagner scored Geiger to make it 7-1.
That would be all that the home team could get against Brown (7-2). The right-hander finished with 7-hits and no earned runs allowed. He walked none and struck out 3. That was not only his fifth straight win, but his fifth quality start in a row and his sixth start where he allowed two or fewer runs.
In the ninth, the Wichita Wingnuts plated three more runs. Cox led off with a walk and two batters later Chavez reached on a walk. Kain then reached on catcher interference to load the bases. Salgado’s single scored Cox and Chavez to extend the lead to eight, and Dean drove Kain home with a base hit. That made the score 10-1 which would be the final.
Kain proved to be a triple threat on this evening, blasting two-triples that accounted for 4-RBI. He also scored three-times. Salgado drove in 3-runs and Chavez scored three-times. Cox, Kain, and Stringer each had 2-hits.
The final game of the three-game set is tomorrow at 7:02. Todd Kibby (1-2, 6.66) goes for the Wichita Wingnuts. He will be opposed by Jose Almarante (2-1, 2.78).
By Robert Pannier