Late Rally Gives Grand Prairie AirHogs Extra-Inning Win
The Wichita Wingnuts continued their pitching dominance at home Friday night, as the home team’s staff held the Grand Prairie AirHogs to just three runs. Unfortunately for the Wingnuts, three was one more than they were able to score as the AirHogs pulled out the 3-2 win in 10 innings.
It started out as usual for the Wingnuts. Great starting pitching by Tim Brown was holding Grand Prairie off the scoreboard through the first seven innings. The right-hander had allowed eight hits in those seven innings, but he hadn’t walked a batter and three double-plays had aided him in keeping any inning from becoming a big one for the visitors.
Brown was being challenged by T.J. Bozeman, who was throwing a fine game for the AirHogs as well. The big righty had found himself in trouble in the last three innings he pitched, but he had worked himself out of all of those except the third inning.
In the bottom of the third inning, Luis Hernandez led off with a double and Alberto Gonzalez ripped a shot into right field that no one was sure if Victor Ferrante would make the catch on. It eventually dropped in front of Ferrante. Hernandez had to hold, unsure if the ball was going to be caught. Gonzalez reached second on the double, but Hernandez was only able to reach third. Bozeman struck out the next two hitters, and it looked like that odd play in right field was going to keep Wichita from scoring, but after David Espinosa walked on four pitches, John Nester took the first pitch he saw from Bozeman and doubled to the wall, scoring both Gonzalez and Hernandez to make the score 2-0.
That would be all the runs the Wingnuts could muster. Bozeman left after five, allowing only the two runs, and then the AirHogs bullpen took over. Blake Oliver, Zachary Dando, and TyRelle Harris kept the game 2-0, matching Brown’s performance.
In the eighth Al Yevoli relieved and he retired the side to keep the Wingnuts lead at two. Matt Nevarez would have normally come on for the ninth inning, but the Good Doctor had closed out the two previous games, so manager Kevin Hooper turned to Daniel Carela.
Victor Diaz greeted Carela with a single, and one out later Ferrante walked. Two batters later Jamodrick McGruder lined a shot into right-center field that was just out of the reach of Espinosa. The ball dropped in scoring the two runners and the game was tied.
In the tenth Grand Prairie took the lead, and it was Diaz who led the charge again. With two outs, the AirHogs first baseman lined a double to the wall, and Frazier Hall was intentionally walked to put runners at first and second. Josh Eatherly followed with a single to score Matthew Burns, who had run for Diaz, and the Grand Prairie AirHogs led 3-2.
Dakota Watts (1-0) earned the win for the AirHogs. He pitched 2 innings, walked 1, and struck out 4. Mincey (0-1) took the loss.
The Grand Prairie AirHogs had 14 hits, three of which came off of the bat of Diaz. Four other AirHogs hitters had two hits. John Nester had both Wingnuts RBI, and he walked three times.
The win evened Grand Prairie’s record at 4-4, 1.5 games behind the Wichita Wingnuts
By Robert Pannier