The Wichita Wingnuts entered Thursday night’s contest as losers of three straight. The team signed Tim Brown earlier in the day, and hoped that he would be the key to end the skid. He returned from Europe where he had been pitching in the Czech Republic to make his first start, and it was just what the doctor ordered. Brown allowed just one-run to the Gary Southshore RailCats, and a seven run third gave Wichita a commanding lead as the team coasted to the 8-1 victory.
The game was scoreless through the first two frames, but the Wingnuts erupted for seven runs in the third to take command of the game. Christian Stringer started off the inning with base hit and Brent Clevlen reached on a fielder’s choice. T.J. MIttelstaedt then drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases with no outs. Matt Chavez followed with a sacrifice fly to score Stringer and give the Wichita the lead. Zac Fisher followed with a single into left that scored Clevlen, with both Mittelstaedt and Fisher advancing into scoring position on the throw. Martin Medina followed with a base hit to score Mittelstaedt and the lead was three. Richard Prigatano struck out for the second out of the inning, but the third out proved to be elusive. Fisher scored on a wild pitch before Leo Vargas and Harrison Kain drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Stringer, batting for the second time in the inning, singled into left to score Medina and Vargas and it was 6-0. A base hit by Clevlen brought Kain in with the final run of the inning to make it a seven-run lead.
In the fourth, Wichita extended their lead to eight. With two down, Medina singled and moved to second on a walk to Prigatano. Medina then stole third and scored on a single by Vargas.
That was plenty enough support for Tim Brown (1-0), who was absolutely masterful. The right-hander allowed just one hit through the first three-innings. He gave up two hits with two down in the fourth, but recorded the final out on a ground ball, then retired the side in order in the fifth.
In the sixth, Gary Southshore finally was able to get a run against Brown. Cameron Newell and Tyler Sullivan led off with back-to-back singles. A ground out moved both runners into scoring position. Frank Martinez then hit a ball deep to left that scored Newell to make it 8-1.
Tim Brown went 6-innings in his first start since returning. He allowed 5-hits and a run while striking out 2. Josh Goosen-Brown came on in the seventh and pitched two perfect innings for Wichita.
In the ninth, the RailCats rallied against reliever Austin Boyle. Reggie Wilson walked to start the frame and advanced to second when Colin Willis singled two batters later. Wilfredo Gimenez was the next batter, and he drilled a three-run shot over the left-center field wall for his first home run of the season. That made the score 8-4, but Gary Southshore would get no closer.
Martin Medina and Zac Fisher proved to be the two big bats for Wichita. Medina was 3-5 with 2-runs and 2-RBI, and Fisher was 2-5 with 2-runs and 2-RBI. Wilfredo Gimenez led the RailCats going 2-4 with a run and 3-RBI.
The Wichita Wingnuts welcome the red-hot Sioux Falls Canaries Friday night. Tyler Kane (6-1, 4.02) will go for the Wingnuts. He will be opposed by Grady Wood (5-1, 2.59) First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier