While the team had the chance to enjoy their sixth division title after Wednesday night’s 8-3 victory, no player on the Wichita Wingnuts was going to take it easy on Thursday. That was especially true of starter Tim Brown who is looking to still reach double-digits in wins for the fourth straight season. He came out on fire, dominating the Joplin Blasters hitters for seven-innings in the 3-1 Wichita victory.
Brown was opposed by Santos Arias, and both starters looked incredibly sharp through the first two frames. Arias retired all six batters he faced to start the game.
In the third, the Joplin Blasters would plate a run to get out to the early lead. Mitch Glasser singled with one out and Geraldo Valentin followed with a double to the wall in center that scored Glasser all the way from first. Brown would then give up another hit that put runners at the corners with one-out, but he got Edwin Gomez to ground into a double-play to end the threat. That kept it 1-0.
Arias was just brilliant through the first six-innings, allowing just two hits. Wichita seemed to have no answer for the Joplin starter, but in the seventh the Wingnuts would take a commanding lead.
T.J. Mittelstaedt was the first hitter of the inning and he drew a walk. He then stole second and scored on a base hit by Matt Chavez, who had been named the American Association Player of the Month earlier in the day. Victor Ramirez relieved Arias, but gave up a double to Martin Medina that put two runners into scoring position. Brennen Salgado followed, and lined a single to right that scored both runners to give the Wichita Wingnuts the 3-1 lead.
That would be all the runs that Wichita would need. Following the run in the third, Brown (9-4) just shut down the Blasters. The starter went 7-innings, allowing 5-hits, no walks, and 1-earned run. Brown has now walked just five batters in 124.2 innings pitched.
In the eighth Chad Nading pitched a scoreless inning and Frankie Reed came on in the ninth. He retired the side in order, striking out all three batters to give the Wingnuts the two-run victory. That was the left-hander’s 21st save of the season.
The Wichita Wingnuts now move onto Laredo to play a four-game series starting Friday night. Laredo is still looking to remain in the Wild Card hunt and Wichita has the opportunity to eliminate their archrivals.
By Robert Pannier