Wichita Wingnuts Game Notes - June 9th, 2013
WINGNUTS EVEN SERIES IN ST. PAUL: The Wichita Wingnuts beat the St. Paul Saints 7-2 on Saturday night in the middle game of their three-game series. Ryan Hinson pitched into the eighth inning for a third time in five starts this year, allowing two earned runs over 7.2 IP to pick up the win. Hinson retired the leadoff man in all eight innings he started. Offensively, the Wingnuts scored two in the first on a Jake Kahaulelio home run and two more in the fourth on a Jared McDonald double. After St. Paul cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fifth, Wichita tacked on three more runs in the top of the sixth, highlighted by another RBI hit from Kahaulelio. Tyler White pitched 1.1 scoreless innings of relief to close out the game. David Amberson extended his hitting streak to nine games. Abel Nieves drew three walks and reached base four times.
ALL-TIME AGAINST THE SAINTS: The Wingnuts are 38-32 all-time against the St. Paul Saints, including a 16-22 mark at Midway Stadium. St. Paul is an original independent franchise that started play in the Northern League in 1993. The Saints are currently in their 21st season. The Saints are managed by George Tsamis who is in his 10th season. Tsamis guided the Saints to their fourth championship, winning the Northern League in 2004. Tsamis previously won a pair of championships with the Can-Am League's New Jersey Jackals. The Saints reached the 2011 American Association Championship Series where they lost in five games to the Grand Prairie AirHogs. St. Paul reached the Championship Series in 2006 and 2007, losing both times in five games to the Fort Worth Cats. Eight-year Major League veteran-and former Saints' pitcher-Kerry Ligtenberg returns for his second year as St. Paul's pitching coach.
SERIES MATCHUP: The Wingnuts are 15-7 and lead the Gary SouthShore RailCats by 3.5 games in the Central Division. Wichita just swept a four- game series from the El Paso Diablos. St. Paul is 12-10 and tied for first place with the Winnipeg Goldeyes in the North Division. The Saints just completed a 10-game road trip at three Can-Am League cities in which they were 4-6. The Saints opened the year 7-3. The Wingnuts are second in the American Association in hitting (.291), first in pitching (3.11), and third in defense (.978). The Saints are third in the league in batting (.285), seventh in pitching (4.72), and 11th in fielding (.969).
TONIGHT'S STARTERS: The Wingnuts go with right-hander Justin Klipp in the rubber game of their series at St. Paul. Klipp was purchased from the United League's Edinburg Roadrunners where he was 2-1 in three starts with a 1.24 ERA. Klipp had 36 strikeouts in just 21.1 IP while allowing only 18 hits. Klipp had a pair of 14-strikeout games and last pitched on June 2nd vs. Fort Worth, allowing one earned run with eight strikeouts in 6.1 IP to earn the win.
Klipp is a 28-year old true rookie having twice recovered from a back injury. Klipp played college baseball at Cal State Fullerton from 2006-07, going 2-0 with a 2.15 ERA in 37.2 IP as a senior. Klipp was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 22nd round in 2007, and was also selected by the Texas Rangers in the 29th round out of Calabasas High School in Calabasas, CA.
The Saints go with former Major League right-hander Anthony Claggett who is 3-0 with a 2.63 ERA in four starts. Claggett ranks eighth in the American Association in ERA. Claggett last pitched on Tuesday at Rockland, allowing three runs, one earned, in 6.0 IP in a no-decision. The Saints lost the game 4-3. Claggett is 2-0 with a 3.75 ERA at home in two starts this season. Claggett has allowed three or fewer earned runs in four of four starts. Claggett has pitched 6.0 innings in four of four starts. Claggett has walked one or zero batters in three of four starts.
Claggett was 7-4 with a 5.05 ERA for the Saints last season in 12 starts and 10 relief appearances. Claggett also had two saves. Claggett was 5-3 as a starting pitcher last season with a 4.34 ERA. Claggett allowed three or fewer earned runs in eight of 12 starts last year, and allowed more than four earned runs in only one of them. Claggett made one appearance against the Wingnuts last season, allowing six earned runs in 0.1 relief innings on June 27th at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Wichita trailed the game 5-0 heading into the bottom of the ninth before scoring six times to win. Claggett also faced the Wingnuts as a hitter on the final day of the 2012 season, going 1 for 2 with an RBI at Midway Stadium in a 10-4 Wingnuts' win.
Claggett is in his ninth season of professional baseball and is 45-32 with 41 saves and a 3.76 ERA in his minor league career. Claggett was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 11th round in 2005 out of the University of California, Riverside. Claggett was traded from the Tigers to the New York Yankees in a deal involving Gary Sheffield following the 2006 season and reached the Majors with both the Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009.
'AMBO' ROLLING: Wingnuts' rookie right fielder David Amberson has hit safely in nine games in a row (12 for 31, .387). Amberson is also 16 for 38 (.421) over his last 12 games with eight runs scored and eight RBI.
ABEL HEATING UP: Wingnuts' third baseman Abel Nieves is 18 for 54 (.333) in his last 16 games with 12 runs scored and 13 walks. Nieves hit .320 for the Joliet Slammers last year, which ranked second in the Frontier League. On May 27th vs. Amarillo, Nieves picked up the 500th hit of his professional career.
PITCHING STRONG: The Wingnuts rank first in the American Association with a 3.11 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 .291 team batting average. Over the last two seasons, the Wingnuts have finished first and second respectively in the league batting race.
MCDONALD NAMED BATTER OF THE WEEK: Wingnuts' center fielder Jared McDonald has been named the American Association's Batter of the Week for May 27th -June 2nd . McDonald hit .591 in six games with five doubles, seven runs scored, and six RBI, while helping the Wingnuts go 5-1.
WINGNUTS SIGN LOCAL PRODUCT: The Wingnuts signed outfielder Tim Rotola on Monday afternoon. Rotola is a Wichita native and hit .361 for the Montezuma Federals in the Freedom Pro League last season. Rotola hit .355 for the Pecos League's White Sands Pupfish in 2011. Wichita released outfielder Derek Perren.
500 FOR CAPRA: Wingnuts' left-hander Anthony Capra struck out five batters on Tuesday, June 4th vs. El Paso. Capra's third strikeout during the start was the 500th of his professional career. The former Shocker fanned 170 between two levels of the Oakland Athletics' farm system in 2009 en route to being named their Organizational Pitcher of the Year.
ZIEGLER APPROACHING RECORD: Wingnuts' first baseman CJ Ziegler has seven home runs this season. Ziegler also has 25 home runs in a Wingnuts' uniform over the last two years, which ranks second in franchise history. Ziegler is just one home run shy from tying Ryan Patterson's (2010- 11) franchise mark of 26.
HINSON CLIMBING THE RANKS: Ryan Hinson won his 23rd game in a Wingnuts' uniform on June 8th at St. Paul. Hinson ranks second all-time in team history in victories, and trails Derek Blacksher (2009, 2011-12) for first place (26 wins). Hinson's 206 strikeouts rank second all-time, and are 12 shy of tying Blacksher for first place.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: The Wingnuts are 160-96 (.625) 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.
HINSON PROTECTING THE HOME FRONT: Third-year Wingnuts' starter Ryan Hinson has excelled when pitching at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Including the postseason, Hinson is 14-6 with a 3.35 ERA (59 ER, 158.1 IP) over 24 starts and two relief appearances.
FAMILIAR FACES: Nine players return from the Wingnuts' 2012 team that reached the American Association Championship Series. They include SS Ryan Khoury, 2B Jake Kahaulelio, DH John Rodriguez, 1B CJ Ziegler, CF Jared McDonald, LHP Ryan Hinson, LHP Anthony Capra, RHP Josh Dew, and LHP Nick Walters. RHP Junior Guerra, who starred for the Wingnuts in 2011, has also returned for 2013.
RETIREMENTS: Five players from last year's team have opted to retire from professional baseball. They include OF Mike Conroy, RHP Jared Simon, RHP James Baker, C Jessie Mier, and OF Steve Stanley.
ALUMNI REPORT: RHP Matt Nevarez (2011-12) has a 2.31 ERA for the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits (Tampa Bay) with 13 strikeouts in 11.2 IP. RHP James Hoyt (2012) has a 4.40 ERA for the High-A Carolina League's Lynchburg Hillcats (Atlanta) with 65 strikeouts and just 31 hits allowed in 45.0 IP. RHP Andrew Aizenstadt (2012) is currently in extended spring training with the Philadelphia Phillies' organization. LHP and Wingnuts' co-owner Nate Robertson (2012) has a 2.81 ERA in 25.2 IP for the Triple-A Pacific Coast League's Round Rock Express (Texas).
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