A night after watching their bullpen throwaway a brilliant performance by Charle Rosario, the Winnipeg Goldeyes relievers came up huge Saturday night, shutting down the Wichita Wingnuts bats over the final 3.1-innings in the 11-9 victory. Shawn Pleffner had 4-RBI for the Goldeyes, and Ryan Chaffee saved his 16th game of the year.
The Wichita Wingnuts jumped on Zack Dodson in the first. Tyler Sullivan led off the game by drawing a walk and Christian Stringer followed with a base hit that moved Sullivan to second. Next up was Brent Clevlen, who drilled his seventh homer of the year, a three-run shot that gave Wichita the early lead.
In the bottom of the second, the Winnipeg Goldeyes reduced the deficit to two. With one down, Shawn Pleffner singled against Wichita starter Tim Brown. David Bergin followed with a double that moved Pleffner to third and he came home on a sacrifice fly by Wes Darvill to make it 3-1.
Wichita responded with three-runs in the top of the third. Clevlen singled and moved to second on an error to start the inning. T.J. Mittelstaedt and Matt Chavez then drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Dodson then walked Martin Medina to drive home Clevlen and increase the lead back to three. Richard Prigatano followed by grounding into a double-play that scored Mittelstaedt and Chavez scored on a double to left by Brennen Salgado. That made it 6-1.
The Wingnuts looked to be in complete control, but the Goldeyes responded with four in the bottom of the third to make this a one-run game. Jordan Ebert and Andrew Sohn had back-to-back singles to start the inning. David Rohm then doubled down the line to score both runners to make it 6-3. Two batters later, Reggie Abercrombie reached on an error that put Rohm at third. Pleffner grounded out to score Rohm and Abercrombie came home on Bergin’s second double of the game to make it 6-5.
In the fourth, Winnipeg took the lead. Ebert doubled to get the rally started and scored when Rohm delivered his second double of the game. Josh Romanski followed by singling into center. That brought Rohm into score and the Goldeyes led for the first time in the game. Abercrombie followed with a single that put two on, bringing Pleffner to the plate. The first pitch he saw he drilled over the right field wall and the Winnipeg Goldeyes suddenly led 10-6. It was his eighth homer of the season.
In the fifth, Wichita loaded the bases, but came away empty-handed. However, that would not be the case in the sixth. Stringer singled with one down and moved to second when Clevlen walked. Mittelstaedt followed with a double that brought Stringer home to make it 10-7. Matt Chavez then lined a base hit into left that scored Mittelstaedt and, two batters later, Prigatano plated Mittelstaedt with a base hit up the middle to make it a one-run game.
In the eighth, Winnipeg added an insurance run. Mike Devine retired the first two batters, but Josh Romanski drilled a 3-2 pitch for a solo home run to make it 11-9. That was his eighth homer of the year.
In the ninth, Ryan Chafee came on. He struck out the first two batters before getting a lineout to end the game for his 16th save of the season.
Shawn Pleffner went 2-4 with 2-runs and 4-RBI. David Rohm was 2-5 with 2-runs and 3-RBI and Josh Romanski was 2-5 with 2-runs and 2-RBI. Jordan Ebert and David Bergin each had 3-hits. Brent Clevlen led the Wichita offense, going 2-4 with 3-runs scored and 3-RBI.
The rubber match of this series is set for Sunday. Alex Boshers (10-2, 3.17) goes for Wichita. First pitch is at 1:00.
By Robert Pannier