Huge Fourth Inning Gives Wichita Wingnuts 11-5 Victory
The Wichita Wingnuts found themselves trailing 2-0 three-innings into Thursday night’s game against the Kansas City T-Bones. However, an 11-run fourth quickly erased that deficit, propelling the team to an 11-5 victory. Zac Fisher had 4-hits and drove in 3, and Tim Brown won his third game since returning Wichita to move the Wingnuts magic number to clinch the South Division to 4.
Kansas City took the lead in the top of the first against Brown. Chantz Mack led off the game with a double down the line in right and moved to third on a ground out. Kevin Keyes followed with a base hit to right to score Mack and it was 1-0.
An inning later, the T-Bones extended that lead to two. Dexter Kjerstad and Jordan Edgerton led off the inning with back-to-back singles. A fly out moved both runners into scoring position before a sacrifice fly by Paul Hendrix brought home Kjerstad to make it 2-0.
Billy Waltrip looked brilliant through the first three innings. He allowed just one-hit and the Wingnuts were not having any success, however, in the fourth things quickly unraveled.
Brent Clevlen and T.J. Mittelstaedt drew back-to-back walks to start the frame and Richard Prigatano followed with a base hit that loaded the bases with no one out. Next up was Zac Fisher, who lined a single into left that scored both Clevlen and Mittelstaedt to tie the game. With Brennen Salgado at the plate the ball got away from Kansas City catcher Zane Chavez. He recovered quickly and threw to third to try to get Prigatano, but the throw was wild. The ball went into left and Prigatano came home to give the Wingnuts the lead. Salgado then lined a base hit into center that scored Fisher to make it 4-2. Leo Vargas reached on a base hit, and Tyler Sullivan hit into a fielder’s choice that put runners at the corners with one down. Next, Christian Stringer grounded to the second baseman, who threw home, but the throw was high and Salgado slid under the tag to score on the fielder’s choice. A wild pitch moved Stringer into second and both runners scored on a base hit by Martin Medina to make it 7-2. Following a walk to Clevlen, Mittelstaedt lined a double into center that scored Medina to extend the lead to six. Prigatano followed with a double of his own that scored two more runs and that would be it for Waltrip.
Jackson Lowery came on and threw a wild pitch that moved Prigatano to third. He came home on a base hit by Fisher to make it 11-2.
Following the two early runs, Tim Brown (3-3) looked excellent. He gave up a couple of hits in the third, then retired the side in order in the fourth and fifth frames. The Wingnuts starter was keeping the T-Bones off the scoreboard through the sixth, but in the seventh they would add two more runs against the right-hander. Leandro Rojas doubled to start the inning and scored when Marcus Lemon hit a two-out home run, his seventh of the year.
Kansas City added one more run in the eighth. Kyle Petty walked with one down against Josh Goosen-Brown. Two batters later, Edgerton doubled to left to score Petty to make it 11-5. The T-Bones would get no closer.
Zac Fisher finished 4-5 with a run and 3-RBI for the Wichita Wingnuts. Richard Prigatano was 2-5 with 2-runs and 2-RBI. Brent Clevlen walked 3-times and scored 2-runs. Kansas City was led by Marcus Lemon, who was 2-5 with a run and an RBI.
The Wichita Wingnuts welcome the Texas AirHogs to town to begin a three-game series starting Friday night. Wichita will send right-hander Alex Boshers (10-3, 3.74) to the mound, while Texas will counter with fellow righty Jared Mortensen (6-1, 2.94). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier