Banwart Tosses Masterpiece as Wingnuts Shut out Birds
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Travis Banwart delivered eight shutout innings while allowing just three hits as the Wichita Wingnuts clipped the Sioux Falls Canaries 4-0 on Saturday night at Sioux Falls Stadium.
Banwart (5-2) broke a string of five consecutive starts without a win by setting a new season high in innings pitched, covering eight innings on just 95 pitches. It was the fourth outing this season by a Wingnuts starter that spanned eight innings, matching Charlie Gillies and Casey Harman, who did it twice. Banwart struck out five and walked three, allowing just one Canaries runner to reach second base.
Wichita (40-25) got the only scoring they would need in the top of the fourth against Canaries starter John Straka (2-3), who had held the Wingnuts without a hit through the first three innings. Zach Nehrir led off the frame with an infield single and advanced to second on a throwing error. Abel Nieves followed by shooting an RBI single into right for a 1-0 lead. That unearned run was the only one allowed by Straka, who covered six innings, striking out four with two walks and three hits allowed.
The Wingnuts finally blew things open against the Canaries bullpen, scratching out three runs in the seventh against reliever Trevor Jaunich. With the bases loaded and one out, Leo Vargas hit a hard grounder to shortstop that Blake Schmit couldn't field cleanly. The infield single scored John Nester for a 2-0 lead, then Logan Watkins delivered the big blow with a two-run single through the right side for the game's final margin.
After Banwart tossed a scoreless seventh and eighth, manager Brent Clevlen turned to lefty Brady Bowen to face the top of the Sioux Falls (26-39) order in the bottom of the ninth. The southpaw responded with a zero, pitching around a one-out double by getting David Bergin on a deep fly to center to end it.
The Wingnuts go for the sweep in the series finale with the Canaries on Sunday afternoon. Lefty Casey Harman (7-2, 3.01) will start for the Wingnuts, while the Canaries will counter with righty Jake Esch (5-4, 5.63). First pitch from Sioux Falls Stadium is scheduled for 1:05 PM, and will be broadcast on 1410 AM/93.9 FM KGSO, TuneIn and americanassociationbaseball.tv.
For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.
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