Wingnuts Bullpen Derails RailRoaders; Wichita Wins 3-1
Tyler Kane had entered Sunday afternoon’s affair against the Cleburne Railroaders as one of the American Association’s leaders in wins, primarily because he had done very little to hurt himself this season. With just 6-walks in 38.2-innings pitched entering play, the Wichita Wingnuts starter had been one of the best in terms of least walks per nine-innings pitched. However, on Sunday, Kane found himself living on the edge from the start, allowing 6-walks and 4-hits in 5-innings pitched, yet he only allowed one-run, giving his team the chance to take the lead in the sixth and the Wingnuts were the 3-1 victors, thanks to four outstanding innings of work by the Wingnuts bullpen, which derailed the Railroaders offense.
Kane allowed a walk through each of the first four frames, and hits in three of those innings, but when he needed big outs he got them. In the fifth, the run of success finally came to an end as Cleburne took the lead. Mitch Glasser walked to start the frame and moved to second on a ground out. A wild pitch moved him to third before Geraldo Valentin walked. He stole second, and there were runners at second and third with just one out. A ground out by Shawn Zarraga brought Glasser home before Kane struck out Fernelys Sanchez to end the inning.
Former Wingnut Patrick Mincey started for Cleburne and he was nothing short of brilliant early on. Through four, the right-hander allowed just one-hit, a two-out single to catcher Martin Medina in the second. In the fifth, Medina would help Wichita to tie the score. With one down, the catcher lined a single into center and moved to third when Zac Fisher ripped a ball off the right field wall for a single. Richard Prigatano followed with a sacrifice fly and the game was tied.
In the sixth, the Wichita Wingnuts grabbed the lead. With one down, Christian Stringer doubled and went to third when the center fielder cut off the ball and attempted to flip it to the right fielder. The ball caromed away from the right fielder, allowing Stringer to race into third. T.J. Mittelstaedt followed with a sharp grounder to first, that Valentin made a nice play on to stop, but Stringer came home to score to give Wichita the lead. Next up was Matt Chavez, who took the first pitch Mincey threw over the left field wall for his seventh home run of the year. That made the lead 3-1.
Kane came out after 5-innings, and the Wichita bullpen took over. They were brilliant. Austin Boyle (1-0) allowed a triple to start the sixth, but retired the side without the runner being able to score. Mike Devine pitched a perfect seventh, and James Campbell took over in the eighth. He allowed a single and a walk to start the frame, but struck out the next two batters before getting a ground ball out to end the threat. In the ninth, Seth Harvey struck out the side, despite giving up two hits, to close out the game. That was the right-hander’s sixth save of the season. Overall, the Wingnuts bullpen tossed four scoreless innings, allowing 4-hits while striking out 5.
Martin Medina led the Wichita offense, going 2-3 with a run scored. Axel Johnson was 2-4 raising his average to .319, and Maikol Gonzalez was 3-5.
The Wichita Wingnuts welcome the Texas AirHogs to town to start a four-game series on Monday. Alex Boshers (4-2, 4.96) will start Game 1. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
Featured Image by Ed Bailey
By Robert Pannier