Willard's Blast Gives Wichita Extra-Inning Win
WICHITA, Kan. - For the second straight night, the Wichita Wingnuts got an excellent effort from the pitching staff and one big swing from the offense, as Ryne Willard's two-run home run in the top of the 10th inning powered the Wingnuts to a 3-1 victory over the Kansas City T-Bones on Saturday night at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
Willard's bomb came with Leo Vargas on at second and one out in the frame against Kansas City reliever Francisco Gracesqui (1-1), who hadn't allowed an earned run all season. The first home run of the year for Willard broke a 1-1 tie that had persisted since the third inning.
Wichita (10-5) struck first for the second time in two games, pulling ahead 1-0 on an RBI groundout from Abel Nieves in the third. But the lead proved to be short-lived, as the T-Bones (8-7) answered with a run of their own in the home half of the inning. Angel Rosa walked and came around to score when Dylan Tice slapped a two-out single.
That was the extent of the Kansas City scoring, however, as the Wingnuts got another tremendous start from Travis Banwart. The right-handed worked six innings, striking out six and allowing just four hits. The bullpen delivered as well, with scoreless seventh and eighth innings from Austin Boyle and James Campbell, respectively.
The T-Bones had a golden opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases with one out against Wingnuts reliever Brady Bowen (1-0). The southpaw buckled down to strike out Rosa and Johnny Davis to escape the threat, setting the stage for Willard's heroics.
Daniel Tillman nailed down his fifth save with a zero in the bottom of the tenth, blowing away Zach Walters with a runner on to end the game.
The Wingnuts wrap up their series with the T-Bones on Sunday afternoon at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. Lefty Casey Harman (2-0, 0.00) gets the start for Wichita, while Kansas City will counter with righty Lucas Irvine (0-0, 3.27). The game 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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