T.J. Mittelstaedt Powers Wichita Wingnuts to 9-4 Victory
The final game of the Wichita Wingnuts 14-game road trip saw the team take the final game of a four-game set with the American Association’s hottest team. The Winnipeg Goldeyes had won 12 of their last 14 games, but the Wingnuts won two games on the road in the series. T.J. Mittelstaedt was the one who sparked this victory Sunday afternoon, blasting his 12th homer of the year and driving in four in the 9-4 victory.
Tim Brown started for the Wingnuts against Ethan Carnes, and both pitchers looked good through the first two innings. Neither team scored, but in the third Wichita took the lead. Richard Prigatano walked with one out and Christian Stringer followed with a double that moved Prigatano to third. Next up was Mittelstaedt, who got ahead in the count 2-1, then drilled a three-run homer to put the Wingnuts on top.
In the bottom half of the inning, Winnipeg got two of those runs back. Maikol Gonzalez beat out a grounder to put a runner at first with one out. Two batters later Willie Cabrera came to the plate. On a 1-1 pitch he clubbed his 13th homerun of the year to make it 3-2.
In the top of the fourth, Wichita restored their three-run lead. Brennen Salgado doubled to start the inning and he scored when Leo Vargas followed with a ball hit to the wall in right-center that he legged out for a triple. Two batters later Prigatano doubled to score Vargas and it was 5-2.
In the bottom of the fifth, the long ball would allow Winnipeg to get back within one-run. Again it was Gonzalez that got the rally started. He singled with one out, brining Adam Heisler to the plate. Heisler took the first pitch for a strike, then blasted his seventh homer of the year. That made it 5-4.
That would be as close as the Goldeyes would get. In the top of the sixth, Wichita extended the lead back to two. Garrett Gould, forced to DH for the second straight game, doubled to start the inning and moved to third on a base hit by Prigatano. Two batters later, Mittelstaedt drove Gould home with a single to make it 6-4.
It would stay that way until the ninth when the Wingnuts would put the game out of reach. Matt Chavez led off the inning with a single and was replaced on the base paths when Martin Medina hit into a fielder’s choice. Brent Dean was then hit by a pitch and Salgado walked to load the bases. Vargas then grounded into a fielder’s choice that scored Medina to extend the lead to three. A double by Gould scored Salgado and Vargas scored on Prigatano’s third hit of the game. That made it 9-4, which is how it would end.
Brown (8-2) earned the win with six-quality innings. Carnes (7-2) took the loss.
Mittelstaedt finished 2-5 with a run and 4-RBI. Prigatano was 3-5 with a run and 2-RBI. Gould had a 3-5 afternoon as well. He scored a run and drove in another. Heisler and Cabrera were both 3-5 with a run and 2-RBI for Winnipeg.
The Wingnuts are off Monday before heading home to begin a three-game set against Kansas City starting Tuesday.
By Robert Pannier