RJ Perucki Delivers Walk-Off Single to Down Wichita Wingnuts
The Wichita Wingnuts are in unfamiliar territory, unable to score runs or close out games. Monday night both of these troubles manifest themselves again, as the Sioux Falls Canaries downed the Wingnuts 4-3 on a walk-off single by RJ Perucki in the bottom of the ninth that gave the home team a 4-3 win.
The Wingnuts came to Sioux Falls reeling from a five-game series against the Joplin Blasters where they lost four of the five games at home. It was hoped that with the recent changes they had made to their roster and the change of scenery that maybe they would find a different result, but that was not meant to be on this night.
Omar Bencomo made his first start for Wichita after being reacquired from Laredo over the weekend. The lefty is a favorite of Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper, and he was happy to see the left-hander back in his rotation, especially with the loss of Anthony Capra to the Mexican League.
Opposing Bencomo was Stephen Bougher, who was hammered by the Wingnuts seven days ago, yielding 8 runs and 10 hits in 4 innings of work on June 22. The game had the kind of storyline that could really help to get the club out of their funk, but that would not be the case.
Sioux Falls jumped out to the early lead in the bottom of the first when Brian Humphries took the first pitch he saw from Bencomo and deposited it for a solo home run to make it 1-0. It was the left fielder’s third home run of the season, and first since June 12.
In the fourth the Canaries extended their lead, and it was Humphries at the heart of this rally as well. He led off with a single and advanced to third on an error by the right fielder. Two batters later Richard Stock delivered a sacrifice fly that scored Humphries to make it 2-0. The run was unearned, but it was still on the scoreboard, and that was all that mattered at this point.
The Wichita Wingnuts responded right away in the top of the fifth inning. John Nester singled with one out and moved to second on a base hit by Brent Dean. Newly signed Leo Vargas singled to load the bases, but Trevor Jones, also a new addition to the team, struck out for the second out of the inning. That brought Luis Hernandez to the plate, who beat out an infield single, scoring Nester to cut the lead in half. David Espinosa was the next hitter, and his lined single to right-center brought home both Dean and Vargas to make it 3-2.
Bencomo left after 7 innings with the one-run lead. He allowed 6 hits, walked none and gave up 2 runs, 1 earned. He also struck out 5.
The Wingnuts turned the game over to their bullpen, and Frankie Reed pitched well in the eighth, allowing just a walk before retiring the side.
With Matt Nevarez joining Capra in Mexico, the club turned to Byron Mincey to close out the game. In the bottom of the ninth he issued a walk to American Association Player of the Week, David Bergin, to start the frame, but then got Stock to fly out for the first out of the inning. Michael Wing followed with a triple that brought Bergin home to tie the game, and Perucki won it with a single that scored Wing.
Mincey dropped to 0-3 with the loss, while Tyler Pearson (1-1) earned the victory. Espinosa had 2 hits and 2 RBI in the loss for the Wingnuts. Dean had 2 hits and a run scored. Humphries was 2-4 with 2 runs and an RBI.
By Robert Pannier