Late Inning Rallies Aid Professor Tim Brown’s Lecture for Wichita Wingnuts: Wingnuts Wire
The Laredo Lemurs had to be feeling really good about Thursday night’s game. After five innings Lemurs starter Casey Harman was shutting out the vaunted Wingnuts offense. Laredo had a 1-0 lead when Devin Goodwin plated John Alonso in the second inning. In the top of the third, just after Laredo scored, the Wingnuts attempted to do what they teach at Wingnuts U. so well – to answer a score with a big rally of their own. They had two on, but Harman got out of it without being scored upon. Everything was going Laredo’s way, until…
David Espinosa gave an indication of what was to come when he led off the sixth with his sixth home run of the year. Wingnuts University Dean Brent Clevlen then doubled, and it was clear that Harman was in trouble. New “faculty” member Victor Diaz was added to the team earlier in the day, and he followed Clevlen’s double with a single scoring the Wingnuts centerfielder, to give Wichita the lead. Four batters later, with the bases loaded, Ryan Khoury walked, driving in Abel Nieves and the Wingnuts would leave the sixth leading 3-1.
In the seventh Wichita put two more on the board. Michael Suk came in to pitch. He gave up a single to Espinosa and then Brent Clevlen followed with his 18th home run of the year. Clevlen ended the day 2-5 with two runs and two RBI.
While the Wingnuts were putting runs on the board, Tim Brown was doing his job to keep the Lemurs off the scoreboard. He gave up his only run in the second inning, and then handcuffed the Lemurs for the next five innings, giving up six hits and one walk in seven innings, while fanning six.
He reached his 100th pitch to end the seventh inning, so in the eighth Manager Kevin Hooper went with Frank Del Valle. Laredo got an unearned run, but they would get no further.
In the top of the ninth Wichita added one more run to their lead. With Scott Weismann pitching, Espinosa walked and later came around to score his third run of the game. He also had two hits, and now has a seven-game hitting streak.
In the bottom of the ninth the Wingnuts brought in their newest member of the faculty to pitch – Chase Johnson. He walked the first two batters of the inning and later gave up a single with two outs, but he ended the game when he struck out Kyle Brandenburg on three straight pitches.
Two of the newcomers had big days at the plate. Victor Diaz went 2-5 with an RBI, and Abel Nieves was 3-4 with a run scored.
The win was huge for the Wingnuts, who moved their lead over Laredo to 9.5 games, and lowered their magic number to win the division outright to three. Tomorrow night the two will go at it again as Dr. K, Jon Link, goes to the mound for the Wingnuts. He struck out 16 in seven innings in his start last Sunday.
By Robert Pannier
Senior Baseball Editor
Member of the IBWAA