Wichita Rally Spoiled by Ragira Homer
GRAND PRAIRIE, TX - The Wichita Wingnuts erased a two-run deficit in the top of the eighth, but Brian Ragira hit a solo shot in the bottom half to hand the Texas AirHogs a 5-4 series-opening victory Tuesday night at AirHogs Stadium.
Trailing 4-2 entering the eighth, the Wingnuts (38-18) opened the frame with back-to-back singles from Brent Clevlen and TJ Mittelstaedt against Texas reliever Josh Blanco (2-1). One out later, Zac Fisher walked to load the bases for Martin Medina, who doubled to tie the game. Blanco buckled down after that, striking out the next two to strand a pair in scoring position.
In the bottom half, Ragira smashed a solo shot to left field off of Chad Nading (0-1), to put the AirHogs (23-33) back on top. Texas put two more on later in the inning, but Mike Devine navigated through the trouble to keep the deficit at one.
Luis De La Cruz came on for Texas in the top of the ninth, and the righty set the Wingnuts down in order to earn his 11th save of the season, and send Wichita to their second straight one-run defeat.
Wichita opened the scoring in the second, when Medina plated Mittelstaedt with a ground ball. Mittelstaedt reached all four times he came to the plate Tuesday, going 2-for-2 with a pair of walks.
Jordan Cooper was rolling for the Wingnuts through four, but ran into trouble in the fifth, allowing four straight one-out singles. Trevor Sealey, Casio Grider and Levi Scott each drove in a run with a base hit, and Denis Phipps then tacked on the fourth with an RBI bounce out.
Matt Chavez brought home Christian Stringer with a ground out to bring Wichita back within two in the sixth, giving the Wingnuts first baseman his league-leading 65th RBI of the year.
The Wingnuts and AirHogs continue their three-game series Tuesday night at AirHogs Stadium. Veteran righty Tim Brown (1-0, 1.50) will toe the rubber for Wichita, while Texas will send southpaw Billy Waltrip (0-3, 4.05) to the hill. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on 1410 AM/93.9 FM KGSO, TuneIn and www.americanassociationbaseball.tv.
The Wingnuts return to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Monday, August 7 to begin a three-game series against the Lincoln Saltdogs. For information on 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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