The Wingnuts won a team-record 12th consecutive game, beating the Explorers 12-5 on Tuesday night in Sioux City, Iowa.
The win improved Wichita’s record to a league-best 40-18 and gave the Wingnuts a five-game lead in the American Association Central Division. The 12-game streak broke the mark of 11 consecutive games set last season.
Wichita scored five runs in the first two innings to give starting pitcher Ryan Scoles some breathing room. Scoles was making his second start for the Wingnuts after being brought in as a last-minute replacement last Thursday. The 25-year-old Scoles, who pitched at Andover Central High and Hutchinson Communuty College, improved to 2-0. He started Tuesday’s game with four shutout innings before giving up three runs in the fifth.
Scoles’ teammates never stopped scoring, pushing across runs in six of nine innings. C.J. Ziegler started the scoring with a two-run homer in the first inning. In the second, Jared McDonald drove in Abel Nieves with a single, and Jake Kahaulelio knocked in Colt Loehrs and McDonald with a double down the right-field line.
The lead grew to 6-0 in the fourth when Brent Clevlen was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, forcing home Kahaulelio.
After the Explorers cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fifth, the Wingnuts responded with four runs in the sixth, piecing together three walks, a double, two singles and wild pitch.
Sacrifice flies from Cole Armstrong in the seventh and Ziegler in the eighth accounted for the Wingnuts’ final runs.
Kahaulelio and Nieves had three hits apiece to lead the 15-hit attack. All nine Wingnuts starters reached base at least once, and seven of the nine scored runs.
The Wingnuts have the day off Wednesday, and begin a seven-game homestand Thursday against Lincoln.