The Wichita Wingnuts headed to the third city of their 20 game road trip, beginning a four game series with the Chicago Dogs on Monday. The Wingnuts found themselves trailing early, but scored seven in the third and then held on for the victory, 7-6. Zach Nehrir and Tony Thomas each drove in two in the decisive frame and Daniel Tillman earned the save.
The Chicago Dogs would take the lead in the bottom of the first. Kenny Wilson led off with a base hit but was thrown out trying to steal second. Edwin Arroyo followed with a base hit before Trey Vavra struck out. With two down and a runner on first, Joe Benson crushed a two-run homer to left-center. It was his fifth home run of the year, giving his team a 2-0 lead.
Jared Carkuff came out of the bullpen to start for the Dogs, and he retired the side in order in the first two innings, but the wheels came off for him in the third. Nick Rotola grounded a ball down the line in left for a double to start the inning. Hunter Clanin followed with a ground single to left that scored Rotola to cut the deficit in half. Leo Vargas singled into left and Logan Watkins blooped a base hit into left to load the bases. That brought Zach Nehrir to the plate, who lined a single up the middle, driving in two to give the Wichita Wingnuts the lead, 3-2. Abel Nieves then lined a pitch off the glove of Carkuff for a base hit to reload the bases and Tony Thomas brought home two more with a single into left field extending the lead to 5-2. After John Nester reached on an error, Nieves came home on a ground out and Rotola plated the final run of the inning with a sacrifice fly, bringing home Thomas.
Chicago would get two of those runs back in the bottom of the inning. Wingnuts starter Jordan Cooper retired the first two batters of the inning, but Arroyo kept the inning alive with a single into right-center. Treyson Vavra hit a flare into right for a base hit and Arroyo and Vavra scored on a double to the wall in center by Benson to make this a 7-4 game.
Trailing by four, the Dogs would cut into that lead an inning later. Matt Dean led off with a ground ball down the line in left for a double. He moved to third on a fly ball and scored on a ground ball by Stephen Perez. That cut the Wingnuts lead to 7-5.
Jordan Cooper (7-5) settled down for Wichita, holding the Dogs off the scoreboard through the fifth and sixth innings. The right-hander came out after six, he allowed 9-hits and 5-runs. Cooper did not walk a batter while striking out 4.
Felix Carvallo came on to pitch for Wichita. The first batter he faced was Stephen Perez, who crushed a deep blast off the netting in left field to cut the Wichita lead to two. It was the first homer of the year for Perez. Carvallo would leave after giving up a two out walk, and Austin Boyle came on to end the inning. He would retire the side in the eighth.
In the ninth, the Wichita Wingnuts sent in Daniel Tillman looking to close it out. He gave up a lead-off walk to Dalton Blasser who moved to second on a sacrifice. Tillman remained cool, however, fanning pinch-hitter Tony Rosselli before striking out Kenny Wilson to end the game. That was his 19th save of the season.
Game 2 is set for tomorrow evening. Scott Barnes (1-2, 4.85) will start for Chicago. He will be opposed by Charlie Gillies (5-3, 3.85). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier