Wichita Overcomes Early Deficit to Best AirHogs
WICHITA, Kan. - Despite falling behind 3-0 after the top of the first, the Wichita Wingnuts rallied for an 8-6 win over the Texas AirHogs on Saturday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
Texas (14-38) scratched out a trio of runs in the first against Wingnuts starter Charlie Gillies (5-1), as Dillon Thomas lashed an RBI single and Stewart Ijames and Chen Junpeng followed with run-scoring groundouts. The Wingnuts (33-20) had a quick answer, scoring three of their own in the bottom of the inning. Tony Thomas roped a two-run triple down the left field line, then John Nester poked an RBI single through the right side to tie the game at 3-3.
Wichita moved in front for good in the second, taking the lead on Zach Nehrir's fielder's choice grounder to second that scored Leo Vargas on a close play at the plate. With Nehrir on first and Logan Watkins on third the Wingnuts successfully executed a double steal, as Nehrir broke for second and Watkins stole home on the throw down. Abel Nieves capped off the inning with an RBI ground-rule double for a 6-3 lead.
All the runs came off Texas starter Meng Weiqiang (4-5), who was charged with his third loss to the Wingnuts this season. The righty lasted just three innings, allowing seven hits while walking three.
Ryne Willard added to the Wingnuts lead in the bottom of the fourth, smacking a double off the centerfield wall to score Nieves and increase the margin to 7-3.
Texas refused to go quietly, denting the scoreboard for three more runs in the fifth. Casio Grider hit a sacrifice fly and Correlle Prime lined a two-run double off Gillies to pull within 7-6. A 6-4-3 double play helped Gillies escape the frame with the lead intact.
Vargas responded with a sacrifice fly of his own in the home half of the inning that would prove to be the last scoring of the game. The Wingnuts bullpen fired four scoreless innings to close out the victory, highlighted by Daniel Tillman recording his 13th save by striking out the side in the ninth.
The Wingnuts and AirHogs conclude their series on Sunday afternoon, with right-hander Tyler Kane (2-1, 5.32) starting for the Wingnuts opposite lefty Tyler Matzek (2-5, 6.01) First pitch 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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