Ryan Kussmaul, Three Relievers 2-Hit Railroaders; Wichita Wins 3-0
The Wichita Wingnuts were looking for their fifth straight win Sunday evening, sending Ryan Kussmaul to the hill looking for his fifth straight win. Thanks to another outstanding outing by the right-hander, both streaks remained intact. Kussmaul combined with three relievers to 2-hit the Cleburne Railroaders in the 3-0 victory. Matt Chavez hit his team-leading ninth homer of the year to lead the Wichita offense.
For five innings, this was a scoreless duel between Kussmaul and Cleburne starter Jorge Martinez. The Wingnuts starter had a no-hitter going through the first four innings, which came to an end on a one-out double by Oscar Mesa in the fifth. He had eight strikeouts through five. ‘
Martinez did not allow a hit through the first three frames, allowing a lead-off double to Christian Stringer to start the fourth. He, too, was throwing the heat, striking out eight through five-innings. That included seven of nine batters retired in the third through the fifth.
In the sixth, Wichita would grab the lead. Leo Vargas singled to start the inning and moved to second on his ninth stolen base of the season. After a walk to Harrison Kain, Christian Stringer lined a base hit into right that scored Vargas to put the Wingnuts up 1-0. That brought Brent Clevlen to the plate, who delivered a sacrifice fly to score Kain to extend the lead two.
It stayed that way until the ninth, Wichita would add an insurance run. Matt Chavez led off the inning by drilling a 2-1 pitch for his ninth home run of the season. That made it 3-0, which would be the final.
Ryan Kussmaul (5-2) went 6-innings, allowing the 2-hits and a walk. He did not allow a run and struck out 9. The Wingnuts bullpen then tossed three scoreless, hitless innings to finish off the game. Mike Devine and James Campbell pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth innings, and Seth Harvey closed the game out for his eighth save of the season. Martinez took the loss despite pitching extremely well.
Christian Stringer was 2-4 with an RBI. Matt Chavez had a run and an RBI to go along with his ninth home run of the season.
The Wingnuts return home to face the Winnipeg Goldeyes in the three-games series starting Monday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier