Scott Richmond Turns Tables in Wichita Wingnuts 8-1 Victory
After watching the two-headed monster that is Patrick Johnson and Ryan Zimmerman dominate Friday night’s double-header, Scott Richmond showed why he reached the Major Leagues with seven outstanding innings in the Wichita Wingnuts 8-1 victory over the Sioux City Explorers. The victory moved the Wingnuts magic number to just four to clinch the American Association’s South Division.
It wasn’t just the pitching that made the Wingnuts look similar to the Sioux City performance from the night before. It was also the big inning, as a five-run fourth inning sealed the deal for Wichita.
John Straka started for the Explorers looking for his 11th win of the season, however, he would not make it into the fifth.
The Wingnuts rolled the dice in the top of the first with two outs. With Jayce Ray at third and Brent Clevlen at first, manager Kevin Hooper called for the double steal, but a great play by Explorers shortstop Nate Perio nailed Ray at the plate to keep Wichita off the scoreboard.
In the top of the second the visitors got two runs, however. T.J. Mittelstaedt led off the inning and did it in grand fashion, ripping his 15th home run of the season to give Wichita a 1-0 lead. Harrison Kain followed with a double and moved to third on a stolen base. Brent Dean’s single brought Kain home to stake his club to a two-run lead.
The game stayed that way until the fourth when Wichita blew it open. It all began with a double by Dean, who moved to third on a single by Leo Vargas. Taylor Smart was the next hitter and he singled to score Dean and make it a three-run lead. Next came Nick Van Stratten who singled to score Vargas. Up 4-0 Jayce Ray put it out of reach. He ripped a single that was misplayed by the right fielder. That allowed both Van Stratten and Smart to score to make it 6-0. Ray would score on a double by Clevlen and the Wingnuts had five runs in the inning off of six hits.
The Sioux City Explorers did respond with a run in the bottom of the fourth. Brock Kjeldgaard hit his seventh home run of the season off of Richmond, but that would be as close as the Explorers would get.
In the seventh the Wichita Wingnuts went back up by seven. Ray singled with one out, but was cut down off the base paths by Clevlen who grounded into a fielders’ choice. Andy LaRoche delivered a clutch, two-out double that scored Clevlen to make it 8-1.
With the big run support Hooper was able to turn to his bullpen, saving Richmond’s arm for the next few weeks. The Wingnuts starter won his fifth straight start with seven outstanding innings of work. Richmond (5-1) allowed 6 hits and a run while striking out 7.
Richmond got great support from his offense on this night. Ray was 3-6 with a run and an RBI. Mittelstaedt went 2-3 with a run, an RBI and 3 walks. Both Vargas and Dean went 2-4 with a run scored. Dean also drove in a run.
By Robert Pannier