Recent retooling of the Wingnuts’ lineup means rookie outfielder David Peralta doesn’t get to hit as early as he used to.
Hitting in the bottom of Wichita’s order is hardly a demotion, though, and being surrounded by accomplished hitters has boosted Peralta’s performance. He had three hits Saturday night — missing the cycle by a home run — in the Wingnuts’ 11-3 win over Sioux City at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
Five of the Wingnuts’ eight extra-base hits came in a seven-run first inning, in which six straight Wichita batters reached base and during which leadoff hitter Ryan Khoury had a pair of singles.
Peralta, a former pitcher who transitioned to hitting last season, had an RBI double while batting seventh in the first inning. He tripled in the fifth and singled in the seventh but didn’t get a chance to complete the cycle.
"He’s the young buck of the squad," Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper said. "He’s a rookie, but I don’t consider him a rookie. He’s got a lot of experience under his belt, even if it’s only his second year hitting.… He’s fun to watch. He’s got some tools — he can run, he can throw, and he can sure hit."
Derek Blacksher had thrown nine pitches by the time he was given a seven-run lead, and he missed a complete game by two outs, coming out so he could be recognized by the crowd of 4,669 when he exited in the ninth.
The Wingnuts didn’t score in the first until there were two outs, but Wichita followed C.J. Ziegler’s sacrifice fly with a barrage against Sioux City starter Nick Schumacher.
Greg Porter walked before the next four batters delivered RBI doubles, trading places with each other as the Wingnuts scored five runs in a span of 16 pitches. Khoury capped the inning with his second single, which drove in the seventh run.
"We’ve got a big lineup," Peralta said. "From the first hitter to the ninth hitter, they’re good hitters, so it’s really fun."
Porter was the only Wingnuts starter without a hit — he scored following his first-inning walk — and the other eight all had hits by the third inning. Jake Kahaulelio was the eighth Wingnut to deliver a hit while continuing Wichita’s extra-base-hit attack with an RBI double in the third.
Blacksher, who has allowed 143 hits in 125 1/3 innings, didn’t break that trend, allowing 10 baserunners in 8 1/3 innings. But he continued to avoid the big inning, and the three runs he allowed all followed defensive miscues.
The Wingnuts right-hander retired eight in a row at one point and set down eight of nine between surrendering a two-run homer to Yusuke Inoguchi in the sixth and exiting the game.
"He can shut it down," Hooper said. "He got out of a lot of damage where it could have been closer than that. It could have been a close ballgame right away, but he minimized the damage ... and we continued to roll."
The only questions in the late innings were whether Peralta would hit for the cycle and whether Blacksher would pitch his first nine-inning complete game since June 2011.
Peralta was three batters away from coming up when the Wingnuts were retired in the eighth; Blacksher’s opportunity was more realistic. He entered the ninth with 95 pitches and hadn’t had an inning with more than 14 since the second.
But after Blacksher retired Inoguchi to start the ninth, Hooper relieved him and the crowd met Hooper’s wishes by applauding Blacksher as he left the mound.
"I like getting him a nice little ovation," Hooper said. "That means a lot to me, and I think it means a lot to them. He could have finished it, I’m sure he wanted to finish it, but in a situation like that, with a good crowd, I wanted to do that."
|Newton lf||1||0||0||0||Khoury ss||5||1||3||1|
|Bistagne lf||3||0||2||0||Kahaulelio 2b||5||1||1||1|
|Backman 3b||3||0||1||1||Rodriguez dh||5||1||2||0|
|Barrows rf||3||0||0||0||Ziegler 1b||4||0||2||1|
|Delgado 1b||4||0||0||0||Porter lf||2||1||0||0|
|Serrano c||3||1||3||0||McDonald lf||1||0||0||0|
|Martinez c||1||0||0||0||Batista 3b||4||1||1||2|
|Inoguchi cf||3||1||1||2||Peralta rf||4||3||3||1|
|Bisenius dh||4||0||0||0||Mier c||4||2||2||2|
|Priddy ss||4||0||0||0||Conroy cf||4||1||2||1|
E—Bistagne (11), Barrows (2), Khoury (10). LOB—Sioux City 5, Wichita 5. DP—Sioux 2, Wichita 2 . 2B—Bistagne (13), Serrano (27), Kahaulelio (15), Rodriguez (18), Batista (2), Peralta (26), Mier (9), Conroy 2 (21) 3B—Peralta (4). HR—Inoguchi (4). SF—Barrows (1), Ziegler (2)
|Blacksher W,9-4||8 1/3||8||3||2||2||6|
Umpires — home, Nick Gonzalez; first, Kurt Brannin; third, Mo Hassan. T — 2:27. A — 4,669.