The Wichita Wingnuts have been in a bit of a rut of late, as they dropped two of three at home to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks earlier in the week, but with the Texas AirHogs in town, Wichita found just the prescription to what ails them as they got six outstanding innings from Casey Harman and Tony Thomas added his American Association leading 14th home run of the season to send the Wingnuts to victory, 6-2. Four different Wichita players had at least two hits in the game and Hunter Clanin drove in three including hitting his second home run of the season.
This game got off to a great start for the Wichita Wingnuts. After Casey Harman tossed a scoreless top of the first-inning, the Wingnuts would add two in the bottom half of the inning. Sun Jianzeng retired the first two batters he faced, but Abel Nieves kept of the inning alive with a double. That brought Tony Thomas to the plate, who crushed his 14th home run of the season to give Wichita a quick 2-0 lead.
It would stay that way until the fourth, when each team would plate a run. In the top half of the inning, Harman retired the first batter, but Dillon Thomas turned on a 1-0 pitch, blasting it for his team-leading ninth home run of the season to cut the deficit to one.
Wichita got that run right back in the bottom half of the inning. John Nester drew a walk before Ryne Willard singled up the middle. A base hit by Leo Vargas loaded the bases and Nester came home on a sacrifice fly by Hunter Clanin to restore the two run lead.
An inning later, the Wichita Wingnuts extended their lead to three. Logan Watkins led off with a double, then stole third. With one down, Nieves grounded a ball into right field for a base hit, easily bringing home Watkins to give Wichita a 4-1 lead.
In the sixth, the Wingnuts would take a commanding lead. Vargas started the inning with a double into left field. He stole third base before Clanin delivered a towering shot for his second home run of the season, extending the lead to five.
Casey Harman (6-2) tossed six outstanding innings, allowing just 2-hits and a run. The only two hits came on a one out single in the first by Du Xiaolei and Thomas’ home run in the fourth.
Texas would score one more run in the top of the eighth against reliever Felix Carvallo. Luan Chenchen started the inning with a single. A balk moved him to second and he scored on a Stewart Ijames single. That made the score 6-2, which would be the final.
Tony Thomas finished 2-4 with a run and 2-RBI. Hunter Clanin was 1-2 with a run and 3-RBI.
Game 2 of this four-game series is set for Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
Featured Image by Ed Bailey
By Robert Pannier