It doesn’t seem like very long ago that Seth Harvey was the closer for the Wichita Wingnuts, almost exactly one year ago to be precise. On Sunday, the reliever stepped out of the bullpen to make the start against the Texas AirHogs, and completely dominated his opponent, allowing 2-hits in 5-innings in his first start as the Wingnuts were victorious, 3-1. Zach Nehrir provided nearly all of the run support, hitting two solo home runs in the victory.
The Wichita Wingnuts jumped out in front in the first, as Zach Nehrir took the second pitch from Texas starter Gan Quan and deposited it over the wall in left-center for his second home run of the season.
An inning later, Logan Trowbridge started the inning with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. A groundout moved him to third before Hunter Clanin drove Trowbridge home with a sacrifice fly to stake the Wingnuts to a two-run lead.
In the third, it would be Nehrir once again. As in the first inning, he connected on the second pitch he saw from Gan, homering to nearly the exact same spot for his third home run of the season to put the Wichita Wingnuts up, 3-0.
That proved to be plenty of support for Seth Harvey (3-0) on the afternoon. He retired the first six batters he faced and did not allow a hit until the fourth inning. The right-hander left after five, allowing 2-hits and a walk while striking out 5.
In the sixth, Felix Carvallo came on and tossed a scoreless frame. Texas seemed to have no answers for the Wichita pitching staff until the seventh-inning when they would get a run. Brady Bowen relieved and retired the first batter of the inning, but Dillon Thomas drilled his fifth homer of the season to pull the AirHogs within two.
In the eighth, Texas look to rally again. Yang Jin started the inning with a single before Casio Grider was hit by a pitch by Wichita reliever James Campbell. Yang was picked off at second by Wingnuts catcher Logan Trowbridge before Lu Lhenhong singled to put runners at the corners with one out. A walk loaded the bases with two outs and that would be it for Campbell.
Daniel Tillman came on and got a fly out to end the eighth. In the ninth, he gave up a one-out single but retired the final two batters of the game for his seventh save of the season.
Zach Nehrir finished 2-4 with 2-runs, 2-homers, and 2-RBI. Fernando Perez also had 2-hits. Li Ning led Texas with 2-hits and 2-walks.
The Wichita Wingnuts return home where they will have Monday off before beginning a three-game series against the Sioux Falls Canaries starting Tuesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier