Leo Vargas Helps Lead Wichita Wingnuts to Double-Header Sweep
With such a talented team, Leo Vargas is often the guy who is left out of discussions, but he proved to be front and center Tuesday night, combining for 4-hits and 5-RBI in the two contests to help lead the Wichita Wingnuts to a double-header sweep of the Salina Stockade, 9-4, 5-0. Tim Brown would be the Game 1 winner, and Ryan Kussmaul combined with three relievers to blank Salina in Game 2.
In Game 1 of the double-header, the Salina Stockade actually had a four-run lead only to see it quickly dissipate. Zac Fisher and Tyler Sullivan each drove in three, and Tim Brown won his second game of the season.
After a scoreless first, the Stockade jumped on the Wichita starter for four in the second. Troy Paris singled to start the inning and moved to second on a base hit by Jordan Caillouet. Roche Woodard followed with a base hit that brought home Paris and it was 1-0. Logan Trowbridge then hit into a fielders’ choice that put him at first and Woodard at second. Aaron Olivas then grounded to first but the throw to the bag was not in time and he reached on the fielders’ choice, loading the bases. That brought Jonathan Moroney to the plate, who lined a base hit up the middle that scored both Woodard and Trowbridge. Kewby Meyer then reached on an error that plated Olivas to make it 4-0.
Jared Koenig was staked to a big lead, but it would quickly unravel for him in the second. After retiring the first batter of the inning, Matt Chavez singled and Zac Fisher followed with a base hit that put runners at first and second with one down. Richard Prigatano followed with a double that brought home Chavez to cut the deficit to three. After a walk to Wesley Phillips, Leo Vargas singled to left to score Fisher to make it 4-2. With the bases loaded, Tyler Sullivan doubled to the wall in right-center, clearing the bases and putting Wichita ahead 5-4. After Christian Stringer was hit by a pitch, Brent Clevlen singled to score Sullivan. his 1,000th career RBI. That made it 6-4.
In the fourth, the Wichita Wingnuts extended their lead to three. Stringer walked to start the inning and Clevlen singled to put two on. Two batters later, Matt Chavez walked to load the bases and Stringer came home when Fisher hit into a fielder’s choice.
Wichita added two more runs in the sixth. Chavez singled with one out and Fisher followed with his sixth homer of the season to make it 9-4.
Tim Brown (2-1) was masterful after the second inning. He allowed two hits in the third, but got a ground out to stop any kind of threat. He then retired six of the final seven batters he faced before his evening was over. The right-hander went 5-innings, allowing 8-hits and 3-earned runs. The victory made Brown the Wingnuts all-time leader in wins with 31.
Zac Fisher finished 2-4 with 2-runs and 3-RBI. Leo Vargas was 2-2 with a run, an RBI, and 2-walks. Brent Clevlen and Matt Chavez each had 2-hits as well. Jonathan Moroney had 2-hits and 2-RBI for the Salina Stockade.
In Game 2, Ryan Kussmaul dominated for 4-innings, then combined with three relievers to blank the Stockade, 5-0. Leo Vargas drove in 4-runs and Richard Prigatano and Martin Medina each scored 2 in the victory.
As in Game 1, the two teams were scoreless after the first, but Wichita took the lead in the second. Jordan Cummings retired the first two batters of the inning, but Martin Medina kept the inning alive with a base hit. Richard Prigatano singled before Brennen Salgado walked to load the bases. That brought Leo Vargas to the plate, who laced a double into the gap in right that scored both Medina and Prigatano to make it 2-0.
In the fourth, the Wichita Wingnuts extended their lead to five. Medina walked to start the frame and Prigatano singled to put two on with no one out. Salgado walked to load the bases once again for Vargas. He fell behind 0-2 before working the count to 2-2. On the fifth pitch to the Wingnuts shortstop, he hit a sharp grounder that glanced off the third baseman’s glove for a base hit. Both Medina and Prigatano scored again and it was 4-0. Tyler Sullivan singled to load the bases, and Christian Stringer followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Salgado to make it 5-0.
Ryan Kussmaul gave up two singles in the first, but Medina threw out Moroney trying to steal second for the second out of the inning. Kussmaul then fanned Cody Coffman to end the inning. That started a span of seven straight retired by the right-hander. He then gave up two singles in the fourth, but induced a double-play to end the threat. Ryan Kussmaul (6-4) would go 4-innings allowing 4-hits and striking out 5 for the victory.
After four-innings, Kussmaul was relieved by Tyler Kane, who gave up two hits but no one could get across the plate. Garrett Gould tossed a perfect sixth inning. Austin Boyle finished off the game with a scoreless seventh to complete the 5-0 shutout.
Leo Vargas followed up his Game 1 performance with a 2-3 game, driving in 4. In the double-header sweep, Vargas was 4-5 with a run and 5-RBI. Richard Prigatano was a perfect 2-2 with 2-runs and a walk. Martin Medina was 1-2 with 2-runs scored. Logan Trowbridge and Jonathan Moroney each had 2-hits for Salina.
The double-header sweep gives the Wingnuts five straight victories. They now have a day off before heading to Sioux City to begin a four-game series starting Thursday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00.
By Robert Pannier