Boshers Blanks AirHogs as Chavez Leads Offensive Onslaught, 16-0
Alex Boshers has been nothing short of brilliant since joining the Wichita Wingnuts rotation, but the team’s offense joined in the accolades on Sunday as they made sliced bacon of the Texas AirHogs pitching staff in the 16-0 victory. Matt Chavez led the onslaught, blasting two homeruns to go along with 4-hits and 5-RBI, and Boshers tossed seven shutout innings in the rout.
David Russo started for the AirHogs, and he kept Wichita off the scoreboard in the first, but in the second the Wingnuts tagged him for two-runs. Chavez led off the inning and drilled his 12th homerun of the season. Two batters later, Harrison Kain doubled to left and he scored when Brent Dean followed with a base hit to left to make it 2-0.
In the third the Wingnuts extended their lead. Brent Clevlen lined a base hit to left to get it started, but was replaced on the base paths on a fielder’s choice by T.J. Mittelstaedt. Mittelstaedt then stole second and scored when Chavez lined a base hit the opposite way to make it a three-run lead.
It would stay that way until the fifth when the Wingnuts would add another run and end the day for Russo. Zack Cox started the inning with a double, but Russo then struck out the next two batters. It looked like it would stay a three-run game, but Chavez delivered again, this time doubling to center, scoring Cox to make it 4-0.
Russo was pulled after five and the roof caved in for the AirHogs. In the bottom of the sixth Cody Culp took over and he retired the first batter of the inning, however, Dean doubled and Leo Vargas then reached on an error with Dean remaining at second. Christian Stringer then lined a single to center that loaded the bases with one out. Cox was the next batter and he ripped a double to the wall in center. All three runners came around to score and it was 7-0. Cox then scored on a sacrifice fly by Clevlen and that would be it for Culp.
Tyler Ihrig came on to pitch for Texas but it would not get much better. Mittelstaedt lined a 1-1 pitch for single to right and scored when Chavez blasted his second homerun of the game. that made it 10-0.
In the seventh, Wichita plated four more. Vargas doubled to start the inning and scored on an error by the shortstop on a ball hit by Cox. Clevlen singled to left to move Cox to second, and Mittelstaedt followed with a base hit to left that brought home Cox. Chavez was finally retired for the second out of the inning, but Nick Van Stratten brought home both runners with a double to left field to make it 14-0.
Through seven-innings the Wichita Wingnuts offense had been nothing short of spectacular, but so had their starting pitcher. Boshers was absolutely brilliant in winning his 12th game of the year, tied for the American Association lead. The right-hander retired the first nine-batters of the game, with his run ending when Brian Bistagne singled to start the fourth. He was erased, however, on a double-play grounder and Boshers then retired the minimum through 5.2-innings. That came to an end with Kenny Peoples-Walls singled with two outs in the sixth.
He would face his only trouble of the afternoon in the seventh when Leon Byrd doubled with one out and Devon Rodriguez followed with a base hit to put runners at the corners. However, a nicely scooped ball by Chavez led to a 3-6 double-play that ended the threat and kept the shutout intact.
Alex Boshers (12-3) would be done after 7-innings. He allowed just 4-hits while striking out 4 in the game. He allowed no walks in the contest, giving him 12 straight performances where he has allowed two or fewer walks in a game.
Luis Pardo and Gage Smith each pitched a scoreless inning to close out the shutout.
As if the 14-runs were not enough, the Wingnuts added two more runs in the eighth. Dean started the inning by singling to left and he moved to second on a wild pitch. A ground out moved him to third and he scored on a two-out double by Cox. Clevlen followed with a base hit to left that scored Cox, making it 16-0.
Chavez finished 4-6 with 2-runs scored, 2-homers and 5-RBI, a career high in RBI for the Wingnuts slugger. Mittelstaedt, Clevlen, Cox, Van Stratten and Dean each had 3-hits in the 23-hit attack. Cox scored 4-runs and drove in 4. Mittelstaedt scored 3 times.
The Wingnuts will welcome the Joplin Blasters to town tomorrow to start a four-game series. They will then move onto Laredo in what could be a showdown for the South Division title.
By Robert Pannier