Early Offense Enough to Fend off Sioux Falls
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The Wichita Wingnuts scored ten runs in the first three innings, but were forced to hold on from there as they claimed the series opener with an 11-8 win over the Sioux Falls Canaries on Friday night at Sioux Falls Stadium.
Wichita (39-25) did all their damage against Canaries starter Dylan Thompson (4-6), striking for three runs in the first courtesy of a three-run homer off the bat of John Nester. The blast tied a career-high with five long balls on the season for Nester, who finished 3-for-5 for his fifth three hit game of the campaign.
After the Canaries (26-38) got a run back on David Bergin's second inning solo homer, the Wingnuts offense exploded for seven runs in the third. Tony Thomas got the scoring started with an RBI single, then Logan Trowbridge added one of his own for a 5-1 lead. Nick Rotola smacked a two-run double to increase the lead to 7-1, then Logan Watkins capped the inning by slicing another three-run home run to left.
The Wingnuts added to the lead in the seventh on a Watkins RBI double, giving the Wichita native a season-high four runs driven in on the evening. But that 11-1 lead would not last long, as the Canaries surged back with seven runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. A controversial two-run double from Patrick Fiala started the scoring, as the Canaries third baseman hit a hard ground ball that appeared to be foul but was deemed instead to have stayed fair down the left field line.
Chris Grayson pulled Sioux Falls to within 11-5 with a two-run single, then Jabari Henry slammed a three-run homer off reliever Seth Harvey that trimmed the lead to 11-8.
The combination of Austin Boyle and Daniel Tillman restored order for the Wingnuts with a scoreless eighth and ninth, respectively. Tillman's 1-2-3 ninth inning secured his league-leading 17th save of the season.
Tyler Kane (5-1) won his fifth consecutive start, allowing eight hits and six runs over 6.2 innings. The right-hander struck out two and walked five.
The Wingnuts continue their series against the Canaries on Saturday night. Right-hander Travis Banwart (4-2, 2.33) will start for the Wingnuts, while the Canaries will counter with fellow righty John Straka (2-2, 7.47). First pitch from Sioux Falls Stadium is scheduled for 6:05 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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