Ryan Kussmaul Stellar in Shutting Down Stockade, 8-2
Tuesday night’s performance by Ryan Kussmaul did not get off on the right foot. The Wichita Wingnuts hurler found himself trailing 1-0 after allowing three runners to reach in the first inning, but he then caught fire, allowing just two-runners over the next five innings, and Matt Chavez had 3-hits and drove in 2 to lead the Wingnuts to the 8-2 victory over the Salina Stockade. That was the 10th straight loss for Salina.
In the top of the first, Roche Woodard was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a base hit by Aaron Olivas. A fly ball moved him Woodard to third and he scored when Jesse Baker delivered a clutch two-out hit to give the Stockade the early lead.
T.J. Looney started for Salina and he gave up back-to-back walks to start the bottom half of the inning, but got out of the threat by striking out two batters and getting some defensive help when Brad Cuyos became the first catcher to throw out a Wingnuts player looking to steal a base.
In the bottom of the second, Wichita tied the score. Matt Chavez led off the inning by ripping his second homer of the season over the left-center field wall.
In the bottom of the third, the Wingnuts took their first lead of the game. Leo Vargas continued his hot streak during this current home stand. He singled to left, his ninth hit in 17-at-bats. Harrison Kain followed with a walk, and Vargas scored when Christian Stringer singled to right field. Two batters later, T.J. Mittelstaedt blasted his first homer of the season to the deepest part of the park to make it 5-1.
An inning later, the Wingnuts added two more runs. Martin Medina walked to start the threat and Richard Prigatano doubled to the wall in left-center, moving Medina to third. Vargas hit a sacrifice fly to score Medina, and Kain singled into center to score Prigatano to make it 7-1.
Staked to a big lead, Kussmaul just rolled. Twice the Stockade were in position to score runs, but the right-hander brilliantly kept them from scoring. In the third, Woodard reached third with one out, but Kussmaul got Daniel Aldrich to line out before fanning Jordan Caillouet to end the inning. In the fifth, Jimmy Heck tripled with one out but, once again, Kussmaul remained cool, striking out Woodard and then getting Olivas to ground out to end the inning.
Ryan Kussmaul (1-2) earned his first victory of the season, going 6-innings, allowing 4-hits and an earned run. He struck out 5. The right-hander has pitched 6-innings in each of his starts this season and has gotten better with each outing.
In the seventh, Wichita added one more run. Brent Clevlen started the frame by drawing a walk and Mittelstaedt followed with a double. A base hit by Chavez scored Clevlen to make it 8-1.
In the ninth, Salina added one more run. Caillouet led off the inning by going deep over the left- center field fence for his team leading third homer of the year. That made it 8-2, but Salina would get no closer.
Matt Chavez finished 3-4, with a run, a home run and 2-RBI. T.J. Mittelstaedt was 2-4 with a run, home run and 3-RBI. Harrison Kain reached base three times in the contest.
The third game of this four-game set is tomorrow at 7:05. The Wichita Wingnuts will send Charlie Leesman (1-0, 0.00) to the hill. He is expected to face Brian Smith.
By Robert Pannier