Scott Richmond Leads Wichita Wingnuts to Third Straight Shutout, 2-0
For the third straight night the Wichita Wingnuts saw their starter put up nothing but goose eggs, this time it was Scott Richmond, as he shut out the Grand Prairie AirHogs for six innings, leading the club to a 2-0 win. Richmond’s performance followed Eddie Medina, who shut out Laredo for seven innings Sunday night, and Jon Link, who blanked Grand Prairie last night.
Richmond (4-1) came out firing from the start. He retired the first 11 hitters he faced, seeing his streak come to an end a two-out single by Zane Chavez in the fourth.
In the sixth he found himself in a bit of trouble, but showed amazing poise to get out of the jam. Jordy Hart singled to begin the inning, and moved to second on a sacrifice by Colin Allen. Jamodrick McGruder walked to put two on with one out. Richmond then settled in, getting Ronnie Richardson to ground into a fielder’s choice for the second out, and then catcher John Nester nailed Richardson trying to steal second to end the inning.
That would be the last inning of work for Richmond. He went 6 innings, allowing just 2 hits and walk, while striking out 6. The right-hander threw just 86 pitches, 56 of which were strikes.
While Richmond was silencing the AirHogs bats, the Wingnuts lineup was getting just enough runs against Grand Prairie starter Brett Wallach to earn their starter the win. In the top of the third Taylor Smart doubled to lead off the inning, and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Next up was Jayce Ray, who grounded to third. Victor Diaz made a nice play on the ball, and made the smart decision to throw home, where he nailed Smart. That left Ray at first with two outs. David Espinosa singled to move Ray to third and T.J. Mittelstaedt walked to load the bases. A wild pitch then scored Ray and it was 1-0 Wichita.
In the fifth the club extended their lead, and it was Ray who was at the center of the rally again. With one out, the Wingnuts center fielder doubled and Espinosa followed with a walk. Two batters later Andy LaRoche singled to score Ray to make it 2-0.
In the seventh the Wingnuts turned to Alex Boshers. He gave up two hits over the next two innings, but also struck out three to keep the score 2-0. In the ninth Paul Smyth came on looking to record his second save since joining the team. Smyth played flip-flop between strikeouts and singles. He struck out Richardson to begin the inning, then gave up a single to Chavez. Diaz struck out, but Brian Frazier singled, moving Chavez to second. Smyth then went 3-0 on Michael Pair before throwing three straight strikes to fan the final batter to end the game.
Ray finished 1-4 and scored both runs for the Wichita Wingnuts. Nester was 2-4, but the big defensive play was his most memorable contribution to the victory.
The victory extended the Wingnuts lead over the Joplin Blasters to 6.5 games. The club’s scoreless streak is at 27 with Tim Brown going tomorrow looking for win No. 10.
By Robert Pannier