Wichita Wingnuts Win Wild Affair; Down Winnipeg 9-7
The Winnipeg Goldeyes entered Thursday’s contest against the Wichita Wingnuts as the hottest team in the American Association. Winners of nine of their last ten games, the Goldeyes looked to cut into the St. Paul Saints lead in the North Division while also solidifying their lead in the Wild Card race. However, Wichita had different plans as Alex Boshers won his seventh straight decision, and Leo Vargas and Matt Chavez led the offense in the 9-7 Wichita victory.
The Wingnuts offense was relentless early on, scoring at least one-run in each of the first six-innings. In the top of the first, Wichita put two on the board against lefty Kevin McGovern. Christian Stringer started the inning with a single and moved to second when T.J. Mittelstaedt walked two batters later. A passed ball moved both runners into scoring position and Chavez brought them both home with a double.
In the top of the second, the Wingnuts added to their lead. McGovern retired the first two hitters of the inning, and Vargas fell behind 0-2, but he turned on a pitch and homered to make the score 3-0. That was Vargas’ third homer of the year.
Boshers had breezed through the first, but in the bottom of the second Winnipeg took the lead. Reggie Abercrombie and Josh Romanski opened the inning with back-to-back singles, and David Rohm singled to score Abercrombie. A sacrifice fly by Casio Grider scored Romanski to make it 3-2. Wes Darvill followed with a double that plated Rohm to tie the score, and Darvill came home on a base hit by Adam Heisler. That gave the Goldeyes the 4-3 lead.
In the top of the third, Wichita took the lead right back. Zack Cox started the inning with a single and moved to third on a double by Mittelstaedt. Chavez delivered a sacrifice fly that scored Cox to tie the game, and Harrison Kain’s sacrifice fly plated Mittelstaedt to give Wichita the 5-4 lead.
The lead did not last long. In the bottom of the third Boshers retired the first two hitters of the inning, but Romanski singled to keep the inning alive. He moved to second on an error and scored when Rohm singled to center. That tied the score at five.
The Wingnuts responded again in the top of the fourth. Vargas singled with one out and Stringer walked to put two on with one out. Two batters later Mittelstaedt was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Kyle Lotzkar relieved McGovern and uncorked a wild pitch that scored Vargas which put Wichita back up by one.
In the fifth, Lotzkar found some issues with his control and that led to two others runs. Brennen Salgado and Brent Dean walked to put two on with two outs. Vargas then singled to center to score Salgado. A wild pitch brought Dean in and that made the score 8-5.
In the sixth, the Wichita Wingnuts would score their final run of the game. Kyle Anderson recorded a strikeout and a fly out to make it two down but, on a 1-0 pitch, Chavez blasted his 10th homer of the year to make it 9-5.
Following the run in the third, Boshers caught fire. The right-hander retired the next 13 batters he faced and looked to be in total control. In the eighth, the Goldeyes were finally able to get back on the board.
Maikol Gonzalez started the inning with a walk and moved to second on a ground out. Romanski brought him home with a double and he scored on a base hit by Rohm. That made it 9-7.
Boshers (10-3) was relieved by Chad Nading who retired the final hitter of the inning. The Wingnuts starter went 7.2-innings, allowing 10-hits, a walk, and 6-earned runs. He struck out 4.
In the ninth, Frankie Reed come on to relieve. He hit the first batter of the inning and, despite an error that put the tying run at first, he retired the side for his 16th save of the season.
Vargas finished a perfect 4-4, with 2-runs and 2-RBI. Chavez was 2-3 with a run and 4-RBI. For Winnipeg, Romanski was 3-4 with 3-runs and 2-RBI. Rohm was also 3-4, scored a run and drove in 2.
Game 2 of this four-game set is Friday night. Anthony Capra (0-1, 6.11) comes off the inactive list to make his first start in over two months. He will be opposed by Edwin Carl (7-5, 4.44). First pitch is scheduled for 7:00.
By Robert Pannier