Wichita Wingnuts Rally Late for Third Straight Time: Wingnuts Wire
While not waiting until the ninth inning to pull out the late victory, the Wichita Wingnuts did wait until the eighth inning to plate the tying and go-ahead runs on their way to a 4-3 win over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. The win gave the Wingnuts a four-game series sweep of the RedHawks, and made them 6-1 since the All-Star break.
Wichita opened the scoring in the top of the first against Fargo-Moorhead’s Jake Laber. With one out, Jake Kahaulelio hit his seventh home run of the season, and the Wingnuts had staked themselves to a 1-0 lead.
In the third the two teams traded runs. David Amberson doubled to right field to lead off the inning, but Jake Luce and Ryan Khoury both struck out, and it looked like Amberson would be left stranded. However, Kahaulelio came up big again, driving an 0-1 pitch the opposite way to right field to score Amberson.
The two-run lead would be short-lived however. Ronnie Bourquin drove the first pitch he saw down the right field line for a triple and the RedHawks were in business. Nic Jackson followed with a walk, and then C.J. Retherford singled to left field to score Borquin and send Jackson to second. Wichita starter Jon Link settled down though, getting Erik Castro to lineout to the right fielder and then inducing Petey Paramore to ground into an inning ending 4-3 play. A great chance to tie or take the lead was squandered, but the RedHawks were just one run down now.
The score remained 2-1 until the bottom of the seventh. With Link still on the mound he retired the first two batters of the inning, but manager Kevin Hooper wanted reliever Jared Gaynor to come in to face the Bourquin, who had tripled off Link earlier. The move did not pay off, as Gaynor walked Boruqin and hit Jackson to put runners on first and second with two outs. Daniel Bennett took Gaynor’s place but gave up a two-run double to Retherford, and for the first time in the game Fargo-Moorhead was leading.
No worries for Kansas’ best baseball team though. Kahaulelio led off the inning with a single and scored when David Espinosa blasted his third home run of the season, to put Wichita back on top 4-3. The home run extended his hitting streak to five games, but were his first RBIs in seven games. They came at the most opportune of times.
Mike Zouzalik came in for the bottom of the eighth and retired the RedHawks 1-2-3. Alex Hinshaw came in for the ninth and struck out the side for his second save of the season. Bennett got the win to move to 4-0.
There were some big contributors in the win, but none more so than Kahaulelio. He finished 3-4, with two runs and two RBI, and was involved in every inning where they scored. The outburst moved his average to .325, a season-high.
By Robert Pannier
Senior Baseball Editor
Member of the IBWAA