Wingnuts Late Rally Falls Short
SIOUX CITY, Iowa - The Wichita Wingnuts loaded the bases in the top of the ninth inning, but Zach Nehrir flew out to right field as the Sioux City Explorers escaped with a 4-2 win on Friday night at Lewis and Clark Park. The win was the tenth in a row for the Explorers.
Sioux City (36-10) knocked around Wingnuts starter Travis Banwart (4-2) for three runs in the first two innings to race out to a 3-0 lead. Luis Durango led off the first with a bunt single, then a long delay followed when home plate umpire Ron Teague was hit with a foul ball and forced to leave the game. A single from Michael Lang and a Jay Austin sacrifice fly put the Explorers in front 1-0. Dylan Kelly plated the second run with an RBI single in the second, then Durango sliced another sacrifice fly for the 3-0 advantage.
The Wingnuts (27-18) got an unearned run in the third, as Nick Rotola came home to score on Nehrir's RBI groundout that trimmed the lead to 3-1. The Explorers answered promptly with an RBI single from Jay Baum in the bottom of the frame to restore their three-run cushion. Wichita got the game's final run with another unearned tally in the top of the fourth; John Nester drilled a one-out double and came around to score when Jay Austin dropped Ryne Willard's fly ball to center for a two-base error.
Sioux City starter James Dykstra left the game after 3.2 innings with an apparent injury, but reliever Ryan Flores (4-0) picked him up with three shutout frames, including six strikeouts. Flores kicked off a stretch of 11 consecutive Wingnuts hitters retired on strikeouts.
Wichita put together a rally in the ninth against Explorers closer Eric Karch. Logan Trowbridge led off the inning with an infield single, then moved to third on Rotola's two-out ground-rule double. Sioux City elected to intentionally walk Logan Watkins to load the bases, before Karch recorded his seventh save by getting Nehrir on a fly to right.
The Wingnuts and Explorers continue their series on Saturday night. Lefty Casey Harman (5-2, 2.66) gets the ball for Wichita, while Sioux City will counter with righty Taylor Jordan (6-1, 3.76). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 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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