Dustin Geiger Leads Wichita Wingnuts to 9-6 Victory Over Lemurs
On Sunday, the Wichita Wingnuts scored 14-runs and pounded out 16-hits in downing the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. Every Wingnuts hitter had at least one hit except one – Dustin Geiger. He was the lone hitter left out of the hit parade, but that would not be the case on Monday night, as the Wichita first baseman had three-hits and two RBI in leading his team to a much needed 9-6 victory over the Laredo Lemurs.
This was Game 1 of a four-game set between the two teams, and early on the season the Wingnuts had not had much success in the first game of a set. Wichita entered the series 3-7, winning the third game of each of their previous three series, but not winning any other games. That was not to be the case tonight.
Anthony Capra faced off against Alejandro Arteaga for the Lemurs. Capra retired the side in the first, but the Wingnuts staked him to a lead in the bottom of the first. Christian Stringer walked to get the inning started and stole second, his third of the season. He moved to third on a ground out and scored on a wild pitch, giving the Wingnuts the early manufactured run.
In the top of the second Laredo tied it. Abel Nieves doubled to get the frame started and moved to third on a base hit by Dave Martinez. A sacrifice fly by Reggie Wilson scored Nieves and the game was tied.
In the top of the third, the Lemurs grabbed their first lead of the game. A walk to Travis Denker started the inning, and he moved to second on a single by Denis Phipps. Back-to-back walks to Martinez and Matt Koch drove home Denker and made it 2-1.
Trailing heading into the bottom of the fourth, Wichita grabbed back the lead. Back-to-back walks to Brent Clevlen and T.J. Mittelstaedt got the inning started. A base hit by Richard Prigatano scored Clevlen and Harrison Kain then walked to load the bases. That brought Brent Dean to the plate, who singled into right field to score Prigatano. A base hit by Leo Vargas brought home Kain, and Stringer’s RBI single plated Dean to make it 5-2.
That lead would be extended in the bottom of the fifth and it would be Geiger who got into the act. After being retired his first two trips to the plate, the first baseman turned on a Kyle Winkler pitch and drilled it over the left field fence for his first homerun of the season. That made it a 6-2 game.
The Wingnuts were rolling, but in the seventh four walks led to four runs to tie the game. Richard Ruff came on to relieve and walked the first three hitters he faced. Jesse Pratt came into relieve, and gave up a double to Koch that scored two. An 11-pitch at-bat with Reggie Wilson ultimately led to a walk as Wilson fouled off five pitches to stay alive. That brought in Fabian Roman. He retired the next two batters on ground outs, with runs scoring on each to tie the game.
It was a very defeating inning, the kind that crushes most teams that are struggling, but this is the Wichita Wingnuts. They never let their spirit get down. In the bottom half of the seventh, Clevlen got it started with a base hit and Mittelstaedt walked to put two on with no one out. That brought Geiger to the plate, who delivered a clutch single to center that scored Clevlen. A ground out scored Mittelstaedt and the Wichita Wingnuts had regained the lead right away.
In the eighth the home team grabbed one more insurance run. Clevlen’s sharp single to right scored Stringer to make it 9-6.
In the ninth, Frankie Reed came on looking to close out the win. He gave up a lead-off double, but then retired the next three in order to end the game for his second save. Roman (1-0) earned the victory in his first appearance for the team.
Geiger finished the day 3-5 with a run scored and 2-RBI. Vargas, Stringer and Clevlen each had two-hits. Both Stringer and Clevlen scored two runs apiece.
Koch was 2-3 with a run and 3-RBI for the Lemurs.
These two teams will continue Game 2 of their four-game series tomorrow. RHP Tim Brown (1-0, 4.20) will take to the hill for the Wichita Wingnuts. The Laredo Lemurs will counter with Danny Moskovits (1-0, 0.00). Game time is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier