Wingnuts Turn Triple Play, Sweep Explorers
SIOUX CITY, Iowa - The Wichita Wingnuts scored six runs in the first two innings and added three more in the eighth on their way to a 10-5 win over the Sioux City Explorers on Wednesday night at Mercy Field.
The win secured a three-game sweep for Wichita (47-29), the first team to sweep a series from Sioux City in 2018. The Explorers (56-20) had not lost more than two games in a row prior to Wednesday night.
Wichita got started early against Sioux City starter Keith Picht (5-3), plating three runs in the top of the first. Tony Thomas opened the scoring with a two-run double down the left field line, then Chase Simpson added a sacrifice fly for the early advantage. The Wingnuts doubled the lead in the second, scoring three more on RBI doubles from Logan Watkins and Zach Nehrir then an RBI single from Angel Reyes.
Sioux City got a run back in the bottom of the fourth, though it resulted in a Wingnuts triple play. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Blake Schmit hit a grounder to Watkins, who flipped to Vargas at second for one out. Vargas fired back to first for the second out, then Abel Nieves rifled a throw across the diamond to nab Jose Sermo, who had rounded third base too far. It was the Wingnuts first triple play since the 2008 season, when they turned the trick against the El Paso Diablos on May 14.
With the score now 6-1, Wichita wasted no time getting the run right back. On the first pitch of the fifth, Tony Thomas cranked a solo home run to left to restore the six-run cushion. It was the 19th home run of the season for Thomas, setting a new career high.
The Explorers made things interesting with three runs in the bottom of the sixth against Casey Harman (9-3), all with two outs. Schmit chopped an RBI single and Dexture McCall smacked a two-run triple to pull Sioux City back within 7-4.
Scott Kuzminsky escaped a jam in the bottom of the seventh with three popups, then Wichita's offense went right back to work in the eighth. Nieves drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 8-4, Reyes beat out an RBI fielder's choice, then Thomas roped an RBI single to complete the scoring. Seth Harvey worked the final two innings to nail down the victory.
The Wingnuts have an off day on Thursday before opening a four-game series with the Cleburne Railroaders on Friday night. First pitch from The Depot at Cleburne Station 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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