Late Runs Help AirHogs Put Away Wingnuts
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - The Grand Prairie AirHogs took the lead and then broke open yet another tight game against the Wichita Wingnuts with two runs in the seventh and five in the eighth, before surviving another possible Wingnuts comeback in the ninth, winning 9-5 in front of 4,865 fans at QuikTrip Park on Independence Day.
With the win, the AirHogs (32-13) leapfrogged Wichita (31-13) for the best record in the American Association, while extending their winning streak to eight and their home winning streak to 15.
But like most games against the Wingnuts, it was not easy. The AirHogs jumped out to a first-inning lead on Andres Rodriguez's team-leading ninth home run, a two-run shot after Wichita starter Ryan Hinson (6-2) walked Brian Myrow with two outs, but they could not take advantage of five more walks and a single in the next five innings, with Hinson retiring eight in a row heading to the seventh.
Meanwhile, the Wingnuts tied the game off John Brownell (7-1) in the fifth, getting a two-run, two-out double by John Rodriguez to right.
In the seventh, Ryan Khoury led off with a single before Sean Smith looped a hit-and-run double to left. Rodriguez grounded to second to give Wichita the lead, before Brownell escaped further trouble.
Hinson began the seventh by walking David Thomas, before Yasutsugu Nishimoto dropped down a perfect bunt just in front of home plate, and when catcher Justin Tellam's throw got away from Zac Mitchell at first, Thomas advanced to third.
Lefty Nick Walters, who struck out Keanon Simon on Tuesday, got ahead of him 1-2, but Simon hit a grounder to short and beat the errant relay throw to first to tie the game, with Simon advancing to second. Up came Bryan Frichter, who lined a base hit to right to score Simon and give the AirHogs the lead for good.
After Ronnie Morales got around a couple of hits in the eighth, the AirHogs broke the game open in the bottom half. Chris McMurray led off with a triple against Jared Simon, and Trent Lockwood doubled to make it 5-3. After a wild pitch and a hit batter, Simon singled home a run to make it 6-3 and Frichter doubled two in to give the AirHogs a five-run lead, before Brian Myrow finished the rally with a single off Edgar Martinez.
Derrick Miramontes came in for the ninth and allowed a walk and two hits to bring the Wingnuts to within five, but he got Jared McDonald on a grounder to Frichter at second to finish off the win.
Notes: The AirHogs were out-hit 12-9.John Rodriguez drove in four of the five Wichita runs.Hinson fell to 3-1 in his career against the AirHogs, including the playoffs last season.Frichter had three RBIs.Hinson's seven walks were the most he surrendered as a Wingnut.Brownell is now 3-0 vs. Wichita, including last year's postseason clincher.
The 2011 American Association Champion Grand Prairie AirHogs continue their four-game series against the Central Division-leading Wichita Wingnuts on Thursday, July 5, at 7:05 p.m. On July 5, all tickets will be $5, and on July 6, all tickets will be $6. All games are aired live and for free on Ustream by clicking on the link on the AirHogs' home page or visiting http://www.ustream.tv/channel/airhogs-baseball with selected contests aired on Time Warner Cable's Texas Channel. For information on tickets, promotions, advertising, and other opportunities with the AirHogs, check out the Web site at www.airhogsbaseball.com, or call the QuikTrip Park office at (972) 504-9383.
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