Richard Prigatano Late RBI Sends Wingnuts to 3-2 Victory
A night after watching the Texas AirHogs get a run in the ninth to win 4-3, the Wichita Wingnuts scored a run in the bottom of the eighth and then held on for the 3-2 victory. Richard Prigatano had the game-winning hit, and Zac Fisher hit his ninth homer of the season to aid in the victory.
Danny Gutierrez was making his second start since returning to Wichita. In the first, the AirHogs would score a run to take the early lead. The Wingnuts starter retired the first two batters of the game, but Levi Scott took a 1-0 pitch and drilled it over the wall in right-center to make it 1-0. That was his fifth homer of the year.
Leuris Gomez started for Texas and he kept Wichita off the board for the first three innings. In the fourth, the Wingnuts took the lead. Gomez retired the first batter of the frame, but T.J. Mittelstaedt singled to start the rally. Two batters later he stole second and moved to third on a bad throw by the catcher. Zac Fisher then clubbed his ninth homer of the season, and second in two nights to put Wichita up 2-1.
Gutierrez pitched 5-innings and looked absolutely brilliant. He only gave up 2-hits and a run, while striking out 2. He has yielded just 2-hits and 1-run in his two outings for Wichita.
Jesse Pratt came on in the sixth, and the Texas AirHogs immediately tied the score. Alvaro Rondon singled to start the inning and moved to second on a wild pitch. Casio Grider moved him to third on a sacrifice and he scored on a base hit by Scott. That made the score 2-2.
In the eighth, Wichita retook the lead. Brent Clevlen singled to start the inning and moved to second when Mittelstaedt walked. Richard Prigatano followed by lining a single into left field that brought home Clevlen to make it 3-2.
Ryan Kussmaul came on in the ninth looking for his third save of the season. He was greeted by Charley Thurber, who doubled to begin the frame. The Wingnuts closer remained calm, retiring the next three batters for his third save of the season. Mike Devine (3-4) earned the victory with a scoreless inning of relief.
T.J. Mittelstaedt and Richard Prigatano led the Wichita offense. Mittelstaedt was 2-3 with a run scored, and Prigatano was 2-3 with the game-winning RBI. Levi Scott was 3-4 with a run and 2-RBI for Texas.
The rubber match of the series is scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Tyler Kane (9-1, 3.41) will be looking for his ninth win of the season for the Wingnuts. T.J. Bozeman (5-5, 2.87) will go for Texas. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05.
By Robert Pannier