A night after watching Charlie Gillies shut down the potent Lincoln Saltdogs bats, it was Tyler Kane’s turn, holding Lincoln to two-runs in six innings of work as the Wichita Wingnuts were victorious, 5-3. Kane earned his first victory since returning from Mexico and Logan Watkins added three extra-base hits to lead the offense.
After a scoreless first-inning, Wichita would take the lead in the bottom of the second. John Nester walked to start the inning and moved to third when Ryne Willard followed with a base hit. Leo Vargas hit into a fielder’s choice that allowed Nester to score, putting the Wingnuts up, 1-0.
Tyler Kane had retired the minimum for the first two frames, but Lincoln would get on the scoreboard in the third. A base hit by Nathaniel Maggio started the inning before the Wingnuts starter retired the next two batters. It looked like he would get out of the inning, but Randolph Oduber hit his third home run of the season to put the Saltdogs on top, 2-1.
Wichita tied the score in the bottom half of the inning. Logan Watkins led off with a double and moved to third on a ground out. Abel Nieves followed by slapping a base hit into center that scored Watkins to tie the game at two.
After a scoreless fourth, Wichita would take the lead in the fifth. Watkins began the inning by drilling a ball to the wall in right field that he legged out for a triple. Zach Nehrir drove him home with a single up the middle. He would steal second but it looked like he would be stranded when the next two batters were retired. However, Nester singled into left field, driving home Nehrir to give the Wingnuts a two run lead.
Tyler Kane (1-1) came out after 6-innings. After giving up the two hits in the third, he retired six straight batters. Lincoln would finally mount a rally in the top of the sixth when an error allowed the leadoff batter to reach and he would walk two to load the bases. However, the right-hander struck out Brandon Jacobs to end the threat and keep his team on top.
The Wingnuts added one more run in the sixth. Shairon Martis came on in relief and retired the first two batters, but newcomer Nick Rotola singled into center to keep the inning alive and scored when Watkins doubled down the line in right field, bringing Rotola all the way around from first.
Brady Bowen came on for Wichita the seventh and the Saltdogs mounted a rally. Bowen retired the first two batters but gave up back-to-back singles to Dashenko Ricardo and Ivan Marin before Oduber singled into center to score Ricardo and cut the deficit to two.
However, Lincoln would get no closer. Bowen started the eighth before being relieved by closer Daniel Tillman. Tillman would go the final 1.2 innings, striking out three for his 12th save of the season.
Logan Watkins finished the day 3-4 with 2-runs, 2-doubles, a triple, and an RBI. Zach Nehrir had 2-hits, a run scored and an RBI. Lincoln was led by Randolph Oduber, who was 3-5 with a run and all 3-RBI.
On Friday, the Wichita Wingnuts travel to Iowa to take on the Sioux City Explorers. Travis Banwart (4-1, 2.00) will get the opening game start. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier