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Wichita Wingnuts Game Notes - May 18th, 2013

May 18, 2013 - American Association (AA) Wichita Wingnuts

T-BONES SNEAK PAST WINGNUTS: The Wichita Wingnuts lost 5-4 to the Kansas City T-Bones in game two of their series at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Friday. Brandon Pearl's RBI single through a drawn-in Wingnuts' infield in the top of the seventh inning broke a 3-3 tie. Kansas City tacked on an insurance run in the top of the ninth, which proved large when CJ Ziegler led off the bottom half with a solo home run. Ziegler also had an RBI single during a three-run bottom of the sixth in which the Wingnuts scored three times to tie the game. Cole Armstrong added a two-run double in the inning. Wingnuts' starter Chris Smith struck out eight in a no-decision, allowing three earned runs on five hits in 6.0 IP. Nick Walters worked 1.1 shutout relief innings.

ALL-TIME AGAINST THE T-BONES: The Wingnuts are 12-14 all-time against the Kansas City T-Bones, including a 4-5 mark at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. The T-Bones are in their third season in the American Association, joining in 2011 after spending the previous eight years in the Northern League. Kansas City won the 2008 Northern League championship and reached the Northern League Championship Series in 2010 where they lost to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. Kenny Hook enters his second year as T-Bones' manager. Hook guided the T-Bones to a 51-49 record last year. Two-time Northern League Relief Pitcher of the Year Andy Shipman is in his second year as Kansas City's Pitching Coach. Kansas City Royals' legend and former Wichita Wranglers manager Frank White is in his second year as Hook's First Base Coach. Prior to 2003, the T-Bones were known as the Duluth-Superior Dukes-an original independent franchise that started play in 1993.

SERIES MATCHUP: The Wingnuts were 59-41 in 2012, winning the Central Division championship for a second straight year. Kansas City finished in second place at 51-49, 8.0 games back of the Wingnuts. Last year, the Wingnuts ranked second in the American Association in batting average (.291), seventh in ERA (4.41), and first in fielding percentage (.980). Kansas City was tied for seventh in batting (.285), second in pitching (4.03), and tied for 10th in defense (.967). Wichita was 6-4 head-to-head against the T-Bones in 2012.

TONIGHT'S STARTERS: The Wingnuts go with Ryan Hinson in their first road game of the season. Hinson was 9-8 with a 4.85 ERA for the Wingnuts last season in 21 starts and three relief appearances. Hinson struck out 93 and walked only 39. Hinson was 3-4 with a 5.20 ERA on the road in 2012 in 10 starts and one relief appearance. Hinson allowed three or fewer earned runs in 11 of 21 starts, and allowed more than four earned runs in only six of them. Hinson worked at least 6.0 innings in 19 of 21 starts, and at least 5.0 innings in all of them. Hinson walked three or fewer batters in 16 of 21 starts, and had seven starts in which he did not issue a walk. Hinson was 0-1 against the T-Bones with a 5.84 ERA in two starts last year. All-time, Hinson is 0-1 with a 6.05 ERA (19.1 IP, 13 ER) against Kansas City in three starts, all three of which were at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.

Hinson is 21-16 in four professional seasons with a 4.72 ERA over 79 games, 43 of them starts. Hinson was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 10th round in 2009 out of Clemson University. Hinson ranks second all-time in Wingnuts' history with 20 wins, trailing only Derek Blacksher (26) for first place. During his first two seasons in Wichita, Hinson has pitched at least 6.0 innings in 38 of 41 starts, and at least 5.0 innings in all of them. He has allowed three or fewer earned runs in 25 starts during that same stretch, and has allowed more than four earned runs in just 11 of them.

The T-Bones go with right-hander Lucas Irvine who was 4-2 for the them last season while ranking second in the American Association with a 2.59 ERA over 13 starts and 17 relief outings. He also ranked fifth in the league with 107 strikeouts. Irvine allowed two or fewer earned runs in 11 of 13 starts, and allowed more than three earned runs in just one of them. Irvine logged at least 6.0 innings in 11 of 13 starts, and worked at least 5.0 innings in all of them. Irvine also issued three or fewer walks in 11 of his 13 starts. Irvine was 3-1 with a 2.42 ERA at CommunityAmerica Ballpark last season in six starts and nine relief appearances. He was 0-0 with a 9.00 ERA against the Wingnuts in 5.0 IP over five relief outings, including three appearances in three days from June 15th -17th .

Irvine is in his third professional season with a 4-5 career record with two saves and a 3.15 ERA in 46 games, 13 as a starter. Irvine has averaged 9.5 strikeouts and just 0.4 home runs per nine innings over his first two professional seasons. Irvine was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 27th round in 2011 out of Northwestern State University in Louisiana.

FAMILIAR FACES: Nine players return from the Wingnuts' 2012 team that reached the American Association Championship Series. They include SS Ryan Khoury, 2B Jake Kahaulelio, DH John Rodriguez, 1B CJ Ziegler, CF Jared McDonald, LHP Ryan Hinson, LHP Anthony Capra, RHP Josh Dew, and LHP Nick Walters. RHP Junior Guerra, who starred for the Wingnuts in 2011, has also returned for 2013.

RETIREMENTS: Five players from last year's team have opted to retire from professional baseball. They include OF Mike Conroy, RHP Jared Simon, RHP James Baker, C Jessie Mier, and OF Steve Stanley.

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: The Wingnuts are 152-94 (.618) all-time at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. It is the highest home winning percentage for any American Association team since the Wingnuts began play in 2008.

ALUMNI REPORT: RHP Matt Nevarez (2011-12) has a 1.69 ERA for the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits (Tampa Bay) with 12 strikeouts in 10.2 IP. RHP James Hoyt (2012) has a 4.01 ERA for the High-A Carolina League's Lynchburg Hillcats (Atlanta) with 46 strikeouts and just 21 hits allowed in 33.2 IP. RHP Andrew Aizenstadt (2012) is currently in extended spring training with the Philadelphia Phillies' organization. LHP and Wingnuts' co-owner Nate Robertson (2012) has a 3.38 ERA in 16.0 IP for the Triple-A Pacific Coast League's Round Rock Express (Texas).

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