Wednesday night’s affair had the makings of a great pitchers’ duel and it lived up to expectations. Jordan Cooper and Calvin Drummond both pitched excellent games, but it would be the bullpen that would decide this contest. Richard Prigatano scored the winning run on a wild pitch after hustling to get a double to start the frame, and Ryan Kussmaul closed out the contest for his second save of the season in the Wingnuts 4-3 victory over the Kansas City T-Bones. Brent Clevlen drove in 2.
The Wichita Wingnuts took the lead in the bottom of the first inning. With one down, Martin Medina grounded a ball deep into the hole at short for a base hit. Brent Clevlen followed with a line drive into right-center that rolled to the wall. Cedric Hunter cut the ball off, but slipped on the warning track following heavy rains earlier, allowing Medina to score easily with Clevlen legging it out for a triple. That made it 1-0.
The T-Bones responded right away in the top of the second. Hunter was hit by a pitch to start the inning. He moved to second on a wild pitch and third on a passed ball. Two batters later, Dexter Kjerstad singled to score Hunter and tie the game. Jordan Edgerton looked like he would be the second out of the inning when he popped out into foul territory, but the ball was dropped for an error and he made Wichita pay. On the next pitch, he lined it into the gap in right-center to score Kjerstad to make it 2-1.
An inning later, an error allowed another run to score. Chantz Mack started out the inning with a double. A sacrifice moved him to third, bringing Kevin Keyes to the plate. Keyes hit a hard grounder to short, and Leo Vargas came home. His throw easily beat Mack, but the runner kicked the ball out of catcher’s glove for an error with the run scoring to make it 3-1.
In the fifth, the Wingnuts cut the deficit to one. With one down, Christian Stringer grounded a ball between first and second that Kyle Petty made a nice play on. He threw to the pitcher, who could not reach the bag before Stringer reached. Medina followed with a base hit up the middle and Clevlen followed with a single into left that scored Stringer to make it 3-2.
In the sixth, Wichita tied the score. Richard Prigatano led off the inning with a walk. Myles Smith struck out the next two batters. Prigatano then stole second and scored on a base hit by Vargas, narrowly beating the throw to the plate.
In the eighth, the Wichita Wingnuts retook the lead for the first time since the first inning. Richard Prigatano led off the inning by lining a hit to center. He hustled right out of the box, beating the throw into second for a double. A one out fly ball moved him to third putting the go-ahead run at third with two down. On a 2-2 pitch, the ball was low and bounced to the backstop. Prigatano came home to score to put the Wingnuts ahead 4-3.
In the ninth, Wichita turned to Ryan Kussmaul. The right-hander struck out two in the frame, including the final batter of the game for his second save of the season.
Richard Prigatano was 1-3 with 2-runs scored in the game. Brent Clevlen was 2-3 with 2-RBI. James Campbell (3-1) earned the victory with a scoreless inning of relief.
The final game of this five-game set is scheduled for Thursday. Tim Brown (2-3, 7.84) will go for the Wichita Wingnuts. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
Featured Image by Ed Bailey
By Robert Pannier