Jesse Pratt Blanks Explorers as Wingnuts Batters Pound for 13-Runs
The Wichita Wingnuts pulled within one game of the American Association championship series, thanks to six shutout innings by Jesse Pratt and a Wichita offense that has come alive over the last two games. After scoring 9-runs in Thursday night’s victory, the Wichita hitters blasted out 13-runs on just 8-hits to take this game 13-2. That gave Wichita a 2-1 series lead.
This was a pitchers’ duel through the first four frames of the game. Pratt and Jake Kuebler were both pitching brilliantly. Neither team was able to mount much of an attack. That would change in the fifth.
After Pratt set the Explorers down in order in the top half of the inning, the Wichita offense came alive. Nick Van Stratten led off the inning with a single and reached second on an error. Two batters later, Martin Medina walked and Leo Vargas followed with a walk to load the bases. A walk to Christian Stringer, the third in a row, scored Van Stratten to make it 1-0. Zack Cox then followed with a double to the wall in center that scored both Medina and Vargas. Next up was Brent Clevelen, who hit a sacrifice fly that scored Stringer to make it 4-0. With Cox at second, T.J. Mittelstaedt was intentionally walked to make it first and second with two down. That brought up Matt Chavez, who turned on an 0-1 pitch and crushed it for a three-run homer. That made it 7-0.
Wichita would grab another run in the sixth. Shawn Blackwell relieved and walked the first two batters of the inning. A fielder’s choice put runners at the corners with one down, and Stringer brought in Harrison Kain from third on a sacrifice fly.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Wichita Wingnuts put this game away. Blackwell retired the first two batters of the inning, but then the roof caved in on the Sioux City pitching staff. Mittelstaedt walked and was replaced by Dylan Rheault relieved and walked Chavez. Van Stratten then beat out a ground ball to short for a hit and the bases were loaded with two down. A fielder’s choice by Kain kept the bases loaded and scored Mittelstaedt. Medina then followed with a single that the center fielder misplayed. All three runners came into score to make it 12-0. A wild pitch plated Medina and it was 13-0.
Pratt pitched incredibly well in his first playoff start. The right-hander allowed just 4-hits and a walk, while striking out 1. He threw 77-pitches.
Mike Devine relieved in the seventh and three a perfect inning, as did Luis Pardo. Chase Johnson finished out the ninth to preserve the shutout in the 13-0 victory.
Chavez finished 1-4 with 2-runs and 3-RBI. Van Stratten had 2-hits and 2-runs. Kain, Medina and Mittelstaedt also scored 2-runs each.
The Wichita Wingnuts look to close out the series tomorrow. Tyler Kane will start for Wichita. Game time is 7:00.
By Robert Pannier