Trevor Sealey Squeezes Texas AirHogs Past Wingnuts, 4-3
The Texas AirHogs entered Thursday night’s contest against the Wichita Wingnuts as hot as the Texas sun. The team was 7-3 over their last 10 and had won the first two games of their series with Wichita. That became a series sweep when Trevor Sealey laid down a perfect suicide squeeze in the eighth that gave the AirHogs back the lead in the 4-3 victory. Charley Thurber was a perfect 2-2 with a walk for Texas.
Tyler Kane was opposed by Jared Mortensen in this contest, and this was a scoreless game through the first two innings. In the bottom of the third, Texas would take the lead. Charley Thurber started the inning with a double and moved to third on a groundout by Trevor Sealey. Alvaro Rondon followed with a base hit into left field that scored Thurber to make it 1-0.
In the bottom of the fourth, that lead would become two. Denis Phipps started the inning by grounding the ball down to third. He beat the throw to first, which was wild, allowing Phipps to move into second. Two batters later he stole third before Ryan Wagner walked to put runners at the corners with one out. With two down, Thurber delivered a clutch single into center field that brought home Phipps to make it 2-0.
Wichita responded with a run in the top of the fifth. Richard Prigatano walked with one down, and Brennen Salgado followed by hitting into a fielder’s choice that put him at first. Leo Vargas then drew the base on balls, and Harrison Kain singled to right, scoring Salgado to cut the AirHogs lead to one.
In the seventh, Wichita would take the lead. With one down, Prigatano ripped a ball to the wall in right field that he legged out for a triple. A wild pitch brought him home to tie the score before Salgado walked. Vargas walked for the second time in a row, and Kain then doubled to center, scoring Salgado to give the Wingnuts their first lead of the game.
Mike Devine took over in the bottom of the eighth for the Wichita Wingnuts and Texas responded against him right away. Brian Ragira reached on an error by the Wichita third baseman with one down, and moved to third on a base hit by Wagner. With runners at the corners, Beamer Weems doubled into left field, scoring Ragira easily to tie the game. An intentional walk loaded the bases, bringing Sealey to the plate. Texas Manager Billy Martin, Jr. rolled the dice, calling for the suicide squeeze, and Sealey laid down a perfect bunt that brought home Wagner to put the AirHogs right back on top.
In the top of the ninth, Luis De La Cruz came on looking to close it out. He would give up a two out hit to Kain, but retired the final batter of the game for his 12th save the season. Scott Firth (2-4) earned the victory. Charley Thurber went 2-2 with a run and an RBI. He also drew a walk. Ryan Wagner was 2-3 with a run scored. Harrison Kain finished 3-4 with 2-runs scored.
The Wingnuts will close out the first half of the season by traveling to Lincoln to take on the Saltdogs in the three-game series beginning Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:45
By Robert Pannier