May 31, 2013 - American Association (AA) - Wichita Wingnuts
WILD NINTH HELPS WINGNUTS SWEEP SOX: The Wichita Wingnuts finished a three-game sweep of the Amarillo Sox on Wednesday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Wichita won the game 7-6 after scoring twice in the bottom of the ninth. With the bases loaded and one out, Jake Kahaulelio tied the game with an infield single. John Rodriguez followed with a sacrifice fly to left that drove in the winning run. Wichita had a 5-1 lead after four innings before the Sox scored in five consecutive frames to take their only lead of the series at 6-5. Josh Dew earned the win, throwing a perfect top of the ninth. Ryan Hinson started and took a no-decision, allowing one earned run on two hits in 4.0 IP. Rodriguez also had a solo home run, giving him four homers in the last five games. Jared McDonald was 4 for 4 in the win with three RBI and scored the game-winning run. The game featured a 2:02 rain delay heading into the bottom of the fourth, as well as a 20-minute light delay shortly after the game resumed.
ALL-TIME AGAINST THE CANARIES: The Wingnuts are 32-37 all-time against the Sioux Falls Canaries/Pheasants, including a 12-24 mark at Sioux Falls Stadium. Wichita took two of three at Sioux Falls in 2012 during the only matchup between the teams. Sioux Falls does not make a trip to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium this season and has not visited Wichita since August of 2010. The Sioux Falls Canaries were an original independent franchise, joining the Northern League in 1993. The Canaries joined the American Association in 2006 and won the league championship in 2008. The franchise renamed itself the Sioux Falls Pheasants in 2010, and held the name for three seasons before switching back to the Canaries prior to this season. Steve Shirley is in his seventh year as Sioux Falls' manager, having led them to their 2008 championship, as well as an appearance in the 2010 American Association Championship Series. Sioux Falls' rotation is led by Ben Moore who returns after spending last year in the Atlantic League. Moore is in his fifth overall year with Sioux Falls and is the American Association's all-time leader in wins and strikeouts.
SERIES MATCHUP: The Wingnuts are 8-5 and in a first place tie in the Central Division with the Gary SouthShore RailCats. Wichita just swept a three- game series at home from the Amarillo Sox. Sioux Falls is 5-9 and tied for third place in the North Division, 5.5 games back of the Winnipeg Goldeyes. The Wingnuts are third in the league in batting (.291), second in pitching (2.81), and tied for fifth in fielding (.975). The Canaries are 13th in batting (.241), eighth in pitching (4.62), and 11th in defense (.967).
TONIGHT'S STARTERS: The Wingnuts open their series at Sioux Falls with Junior Guerra who is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts. Guerra earned a win last Friday vs. New Jersey, allowing one earned run on nine hits in 7.0 IP. Guerra struck out eight and did not issue a walk. Guerra was 1-3 in five starts with a 5.46 ERA for the Leones de Yucatan in the Mexican League last year. Guerra allowed three or fewer earned runs in four of his five starts for the Leones.
Guerra starred for the Wingnuts in 2011, posting a 9-3 record while finishing tied for ninth in the American Association in ERA (3.57) and seventh in strikeouts (103). Guerra was 8-1 with a 2.30 ERA over his final 12 regular season starts in 2011, and then allowed one earned run in 6.2 innings in Game One of the Division Series at Grand Prairie. On July 13th, 2011, Guerra worked the first 7.1 innings of a combined no-hitter over the Shreveport- Bossier Captains at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Guerra is 0-1 in one career start against Sioux Falls, taking a loss on June 7th, 2011 in which he allowed seven earned runs in 4.2 IP.
As a pitcher, Guerra is 13-9 with a 3.87 ERA in 63 career games, 27 of them starts. Guerra is in his eighth year of professional baseball, and spent four years in the Atlanta Braves' farm system as a catcher. Guerra was signed by Atlanta as an international free agent in 2001.
The Canaries go with right-hander Ben Moore who is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in three starts. Moore has struck out 17 batters in 22.0 IP this season and has yet to issue a walk. Moore last pitched on Sunday at Sioux City and earned a complete game win, allowing one earned run on five hits over 9.0 IP. It was Moore's 11th career complete game.
More returns to Sioux Falls after spending last season with the Atlantic League's Southern Maryland Blue Crabs where he was 3-2 with a 3.06 ERA in eight starts. Moore is in his fifth overall season with the Sioux Falls' franchise and owns a 41-29 record and a 4.11 ERA in 83 starts and one relief appearance during that stretch. Moore is the American Association's all-time leader in wins (41) and strikeouts (494). Moore was voted the American Association's Pitcher of the Year in both 2010 and 2011.
Moore is 76-57 in 11 professional seasons with a 4.16 ERA in 218 games, 151 of them starts. Moore originally signed with the New York Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in 2003, and reached Double-A Trenton the following year. Moore has averaged 7.8 strikeouts per nine innings in his career against just 2.5 walks. Moore is 6-7 lifetime against the Wingnuts with a 4.58 ERA in 14 starts in which he has struck out 72 and allowed 14 home runs in 92.1 IP.
PITCHING STRONG: The Wingnuts rank second in the American Association with a 2.81 ERA. The Wingnuts ranked first in ERA in 2009 and 2010 while finishing third in 2011.
STARTING STRONG: Wichita's starting rotation has been consistent to begin the 2013 season. The starters are 7-4 with a 3.05 ERA through 13 games (27 ER, 79.2 IP), and have allowed three or fewer earned runs in 12 of them.
RODRIGUEZ STREAKING: Wingnuts' DH John Rodriguez is riding a 9-game hitting streak in which he is 17 for 39 (.436). Rodriguez has hit safely in 12 of 13 games this season, and already has eight multi-hit contests.
NIEVES NOTCHES 500: Wingnuts' third baseman Abel Nieves had three hits in a win vs. Amarillo on Monday, May 27th . Nieves' first-inning double was the 500th base hit of his professional career. Nieves reached the Triple-A level three times with the Los Angeles Angels' organization.
IMMINENT MILESTONE FOR CAPRA : Wingnuts' left-hander Anthony Capra has 497 career strikeouts, and needs only three more to reach 500. The former Shocker fanned 170 between two levels of the Oakland Athletics' chain in 2009 and was named their Organizational Pitcher of the Year.
ZIEGLER APPROACHING RECORD: Wingnuts' first baseman CJ Ziegler has six home runs this season. Ziegler also has 24 home runs in a Wingnuts' uniform over the last two years, which ranks tied for second in franchise history. Ziegler is just two home runs shy from tying Ryan Patterson's (2010-11) franchise mark of 26.
HINSON CLIMBING THE RANKS: Ryan Hinson won his 21st game in a Wingnuts' uniform on May 18th at Kansas City. Hinson ranks second all-time in team history in victories, and trails Derek Blacksher (2009 and 2011-12, 26) for first place. Hinson's 197 strikeouts rank third all-time, and are 21 shy of tying Blacksher for first place.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: The Wingnuts are 156-96 (.619) 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.
HINSON PROTECTING THE HOME FRONT: Third-year Wingnuts' starter Ryan Hinson has excelled when pitching at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Including the postseason, Hinson is 13-5 with a 3.41 ERA in 23 starts and two relief outings over 150.1 IP (57 ER).
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.
ALUMNI REPORT: RHP Matt Nevarez (2011-12) has a 2.31 ERA for the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits (Tampa Bay) with 13 strikeouts in 11.2 IP.
RHP James Hoyt (2012) has a 3.40 ERA for the High-A Carolina League's Lynchburg Hillcats (Atlanta) with 58 strikeouts and just 22 hits allowed in 39.2
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 2.45 ERA in 22.0 IP for the Triple-A Pacific Coast League's Round Rock Express (Texas).