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Wichita Wingnuts Game Notes - July 22nd, 2013

July 22, 2013 - American Association (AA) - Wichita Wingnuts News Release

SMITH FANS 12 IN WIN OVER LINCOLN: The Wichita Wingnuts gained a split of their four-game series vs. Lincoln on Sunday, beating the Saltdogs 4-1. Chris Smith picked up his seventh win of the year, allowing one earned run just three hits over 6.2 innings. Smith walked only one and struck out a season-high 12 batters, which fell one shy of tying Ryan Hinson's franchise single-game record. Wichita used four consecutive singles in the bottom of the first to take an early 2-0 lead and added sacrifice flies later in the game from Jake Kahaulelio and Jared McDonald. Rookie outfielder Madison Beaird scored two runs and picked up the first two hits of his professional career with a double and a triple. Andrew Aizenstadt, Lincoln Holdzkom, and Josh Dew combined for 2.1 scoreless innings of relief. Dew earned his 14th save.

ALL-TIME AGAINST THE SOX: The Wingnuts are 22-11 all-time against the Amarillo Sox, including a 14-4 mark at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. The Sox are in their third season in the American Association. The Pensacola Pelicans moved operations to Amarillo following the 2010 season. The Amarillo Dillas were an independent team from 1994-2010, and won the final three championships in the United League. The Dillas also spent time in the Texas-Louisiana and Central Leagues. Bobby Brown enters his first season as manager of the Sox. Brown managed the North American League's Abilene Prairie Dogs in 2012 and was a .300 hitter during a 10-year playing career. Former Wingnuts' outfielder David Peralta-who hit .332 with 70 RBI as a rookie in 2012-opened the season with Amarillo and was recently purchased by the Arizona Diamondbacks' organization. The Sox' pitching staff is led by Jason Johnson, who pitched 11 seasons in the Major Leagues from 1997-2008 and was a teammate of Wingnuts' manager Kevin Hooper with the Detroit Tigers in 2005.

SERIES MATCHUP: The Wingnuts are 42-20 and lead the Gary SouthShore RailCats by 6.5 games in the Central Division. The Wingnuts just split a four-game series vs. Lincoln. The Sox are 34-27 and in second place in the South Division, 0.5 games behind the Laredo Lemurs. Amarillo also trails Gary SouthShore by 1.5 games in the wild card race. The Wingnuts are second in the league in hitting (.296), first in pitching (3.16), and third in fielding (.977). The Sox are first in batting (.300), tied for ninth in pitching (4.97), and 12th in defense (.962). This is the third and final regular season series scheduled between the two clubs, all of which have been played at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Wichita swept a three-game series from the Sox in late-May and swept a four-game set earlier this month.

TONIGHT'S STARTERS: The Wingnuts go with right-hander Ryan Scoles who is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in two starts. Scoles earned a win at Sioux City last Tuesday, allowing three earned runs on seven hits in 5.0 IP. The win was Wichita's 12th straight, which set a franchise record. Scoles was signed on July 11th and made his professional debut that night vs. the Kansas City T-Bones. Scoles pitched 5.0+ shutout innings and allowed only one hit to pick up the win. Scoles was signed when originally scheduled starter Ryan Hinson was purchased by the Atlanta Braves' organization earlier that afternoon. Scoles most recently pitched for the Walter Johnson League's Kansas Cannons and pitched two years at Hutchinson Community College. Scoles is a Wichita native who played his high school ball at Andover Central.

The Sox go with right-hander Joe Newby who is 3-3 with a 4.20 ERA in 10 starts. Newby last pitched on July 9th in a no-decision at Wichita, allowing four earned runs on four hits in 6.0 IP. The Sox lost the game 8-5. Newby is 0-2 with a 4.85 ERA on the road this season in five starts. Newby has allowed three or fewer earned runs in six of 10 starts, and has allowed more than four earned runs in just one of them. Newby has pitched at least 6.0 innings in seven of 10 starts, and has pitched at least 5.0 innings in all of them. Newby is 0-1 with an 8.18 ERA (10 ER, 11.0 IP) in two starts against the Wingnuts this season.

Newby returns to professional baseball after missing the 2012 season. Newby last pitched in 2011 for the Los Angeles Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque. Newby is 26-27 with two saves and a 3.84 ERA in eight professional seasons over 183 games, 57 of them starts. Newby has averaged 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings and only 0.4 home runs in his career. Newby originally signed with the Oakland Athletics out of Colorado State University-Pueblo in 2004. Newby also pitched for the Seattle Mariners' organization, reaching Triple-A Tacoma in 2009. This is Newby's second season in independent baseball having pitched for the Atlantic League's Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in 2010 before signing with the Dodgers.

WINGNUTS ROSTER MOVES: The Wingnuts acquired catcher Johnny Bowden from the United League's Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings on Monday. Bowden hit .318 with nine RBI in 39 games played and has thrown out 29% of opposing base stealers over six professional seasons. Wichita also signed rookie outfielder Jonathan Davis. Davis hit .302 as a senior this past spring at Kansas State University with five home runs and 42 RBI in 63 games played. To make room, Wichita released catcher Scott Dalrymple, and removed outfielder David Amberson from the active roster.

BEARD COLLECTS FIRST PRO HITS: Rookie outfielder Madison Beaird doubled and tripled in Sunday's win vs. Lincoln for the first hits of his professional career. Beaird also scored two runs. Beaird was signed prior to Saturday's game after Colt Loehrs was removed from the Wingnuts' roster due to injury. Beaird hit .295 as a senior at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith this past spring and most recently played for the Walter Johnson League's Kansas Cannons where he was a teammate of fellow Wingnuts' true rookie Ryan Scoles. Beaird is the third player to make his professional debut with the Wingnuts this season and the 31st all-time.

NIEVES PACING THE LEAGUE: Wingnuts' third baseman Abel Nieves leads the American Association in batting average (.369). Wichita has won three batting titles in their first five seasons. Kevin Hooper won by 40 points in 2008 at .373, Greg Porter topped the league with a .372 mark in 2009, and Jake Kahaulelio finished first with a .372 average in 2012. Nieves had a 19-game hitting streak from June 8th -26th (38 for 76, .500) which ranks tied for the second-longest in team history (Greg Porter 2009 and Jorge Delgado 2010). The team record is held by Josh Horn, who hit safely in 20 consecutive games from August 29th, 2009 through June 5th, 2010. Nieves finished second in the Frontier League in batting average last year, hitting .320 for the Joliet Slammers. On May 27th vs. Amarillo, Nieves picked up the 500th hit of his eight-year professional career. Nieves reached the Triple-A level three times with the Los Angeles Angels' organization.

KHOURY SETTING THE TABLE: Wingnuts' shortstop Ryan Khoury has reached base in 55 of 61 games this season with a hit, walk, or hit by pitch. Khoury reached base in 87 of 100 games in 2012, and was named the American Association's Defensive Player of the Year. Khoury also ranked in the top-four in the league in runs scored, walks, and stolen bases. On June 26th vs. Laredo, Khoury missed his first game since joining the Wingnuts last year. Including the postseason, Khoury had started 145 consecutive games both at shortstop and in the leadoff spot, and missed just five total innings in the field during that stretch. Prior to June 26th, the last time a Wingnuts' player other than Khoury started at shortstop was September 4th, 2011 when Josh Horn started Game Four of the Division Series vs. Grand Prairie. Jimmy Mojica was the last Wingnuts' player to bat leadoff, which was also on September 4th, 2011.

ZIEGLER CLEANING THE TABLE: Wingnuts' first baseman CJ Ziegler is tied for first in the American Association in home runs (18) and ranks first in RBI (63). Ziegler tied a Wingnuts' single-game record with seven RBI on June 24th vs. Laredo. Last season, Ziegler ranked tied for third in the American Association with 18 home runs in just 58 games played. Ziegler has helped his team reach the playoffs in each of his first five professional seasons.

PITCHING STRONG: The Wingnuts rank first in the American Association with a 3.16 team ERA. The Wingnuts ranked first in ERA in 2009 and 2010 while finishing third in 2011.

SWINGING STRONG: The Wingnuts rank second in the American Association with a .296 team batting average. Over the last two seasons, the Wingnuts have finished first and second respectively in the league batting race.

GLOVE WORK: The Wingnuts are third in the American Association with a .977 fielding percentage. Wichita has led the league in defense in three of their first five years of existence (2008, 2009, 2012), and finished second in 2011. The Wingnuts hold the American Association record for team fielding percentage at .980, which they accomplished in both 2009 and 2012.

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: The Wingnuts are 178-102 (.636) all-time at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. It is the highest home winning percentage for any American Association team since the Wingnuts began play in 2008.

SCORELESS BALL: The Wingnuts have posted seven shutouts as a team this season. The franchise record for shutouts in a single season is nine, set in both 2010 and 2011.

COMPLETE ME: The Wingnuts' pitching staff is tied for the league lead with five complete games. Wichita's club record for complete games in a single season is seven, set in both 2009 and 2010.

TOUGH LOSSES: Of the Wingnuts' 20 losses this season, 12 have been by one run, two by two runs, and three by three runs. Wichita has held a lead at some point in 11 of their 20 losses.

GUERRA PROTECTING THE HOME FRONT: Wingnuts' right-hander Junior Guerra has excelled when pitching at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Guerra is 10-3 with a 3.10 ERA (42 ER, 122.0 IP) all-time in Wichita over 18 starts.

'J-ROD' REACHES MAJOR MILESTONES: Wingnuts' DH John Rodriguez hit a two-out, three-run home run in the bottom of the second inning on July 8th vs. Amarillo for the 1,500th base hit of his 17-year professional career. The home run also have Rodriguez 902 career RBI. On July 18th vs. Lincoln, Rodriguez set the Wingnuts' franchise record for RBI (126) with a two-out, RBI double in the bottom of the fifth inning. Josh Horn (2009-11) held the previous team record with 125 RBI.

ZIEGLER NEW HOME RUN LEADER: Wingnuts' first baseman CJ Ziegler hit a solo home run on June 14th vs. St. Paul in the opener of a double header. It was Ziegler's ninth home run of 2013, and his 27th in a Wingnuts' uniform over the last two years, setting a new franchise record. Ryan Patterson (2010-11) held the previous record with 26 home runs.

KHOURY BREAKS TEAM STEALS RECORD: Wingnuts' shortstop Ryan Khoury set a franchise record with his 47th stolen base on July 6th vs. Amarillo. Josh Horn (2009-11) held the previous record with 46. Last year, Khoury established a Wingnuts' single-season record with 37 stolen bases, surpassing current manager Kevin Hooper's mark of 34 set in 2008.

BACK-TO-BACK: John Rodriguez and CJ Ziegler hit back-to-back home runs on consecutive pitches in the bottom of the third inning in game one of a double header on Friday, June 14th vs. St. Paul. They were the first back-to-back home runs for the Wingnuts since July 26th, 2011 when Josh Horn and Brent Clevlen accomplished the feat vs. Fargo-Moorhead. Ziegler and Clevlen homered on back-to-back pitches on Monday, June 24th vs. Laredo.

GRAND SLAM TIME: On Tuesday, June 11th at Winnipeg, Abel Nieves hit the Wingnuts' first grand slam home run since August 27th, 2011 when Juan Richardson hit a bases loaded 'big fly' in a 19-2 rout at El Paso. Wichita hit .309 as a team with the bases loaded in 2012, and was hitting .400 with the sacks full going into June 11th of this year, but had gone 126 consecutive games without a grand slam. CJ Ziegler hit the Wingnuts' second grand slam of 2013 on June 28th vs. Sioux City.

ALL HE DOES IS WIN: Wingnuts' fifth-year manager Kevin Hooper is 264-190 (.581) since taking over in 2009. Hooper has guided the Wingnuts to four consecutive winning seasons, as well as three playoff berths. Hooper's .581 winning percentage is the highest among American Association managers over the last five years. His 265 wins also rank first during that stretch. Hooper was a member of a team that made the playoffs in eight different seasons over his 10-year playing career. Hooper was also a member of Wichita State University's College World Series team in 1996. The Shockers reached the NCAA tournament in all four of Hooper's collegiate seasons, and posted a composite .815 winning percentage.

ALUMNI REPORT: RHP Matt Nevarez (2011-12) has a 2.31 ERA for the Double-A Southern League's Montgomery Biscuits (Tampa Bay) with 13 strikeouts in 11.2 IP. RHP James Hoyt (2012) was recently promoted to the Double-A Southern League's Mississippi Braves (Atlanta) and has a 3.60 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 15.0 IP. Hoyt posted a 4.89 ERA with 72 strikeouts in just 49.2 IP earlier this year for the High-A Carolina League's Lynchburg Hillcats. LHP and Wingnuts' co- owner Nate Robertson (2012) has a 3.72 ERA in 38.2 IP for the Triple-A Pacific Coast League's Round Rock Express (Texas). RHP Jon Link was purchased by the Detroit Tigers in June 19th and went 3-1 with a 1.13 ERA in five starts for the Double-A Eastern League's Erie SeaWolves. Link was recently promoted to Triple-A Toledo and is 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA in one start. LHP Ryan Hinson was purchased by the Atlanta Braves on July 11th and is 0-1 with a 1.50 ERA in one start for the High-A Carolina League's Lynchburg Hillcats.

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