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Wingnuts split doubleheader with Railcats

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, August 14, 2013, at 11:25 p.m.

Gary SouthShore at Wingnuts

When: 7:05 p.m. Thursday

Where: Lawrence-Dumont Stadium

Records: Gary SouthShore 47-35, Wingnuts 56-27

Starting pitchers: Gary SouthShore, RH Billy Spottiswood (5-2, 3.35 ERA); Wingnuts, LH Anthony Capra (6-2, 3.87)

Radio: KWME, 92.7-FM

The Wingnuts scored a walk-off win in the first game of a doubleheader against Gary SouthShore on Tuesday. In the nightcap, it was Gary doing all the walking.

After a single in the seventh inning by Abel Nieves gave Wichita a 2-1 win in the first of two seven-inning games at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, the Railcats took the second game 10-5 thanks in part to 10 walks by Wichita pitching.

Gary, which has eight homers on the season in 82 games, also muscled up — relatively speaking. The American Association Central Division’s second-place team, trailing the Wingnuts by 8 1/2 games, didn’t add to their league-worst homer total. But the Railcats did notch five extra-base hits, helping them earn more mileage out of their seven hits and 10 free passes.

It’s a weakness of an otherwise stout Wichita pitching staff —the Wingnuts lead the league in ERA but just four of the 12 other teams have issued more walks.

“(Pitching coach Luke Robertson) and I keep preaching,” Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper said. “If we’re going to get beat, let’s get beat by contact, because the defense behind us is tremendous. We keep preaching it, it was just one of those weird nights tonight in the second game.”

Starting pitcher Justin Klipp was the primary culprit of Wichita’s control problems, though relievers Daniel Bennett and Josh Stone didn’t exactly fix those issues.

Klipp, a pitch-to-contact right-hander who relies on pitches on the edges of the strike zone and an ability to effectively change speeds in order to induce weak contact, didn’t get the strikes he needs to be effective, and the contact Gary managed was anything but weak.

After a perfect first inning, Klipp walked the leadoff hitter in the second. He later allowed a triple, single and a double to put Gary ahead 3-0. Klipp walked three of the first four batters in the third, a statistic made to look even worse by an error on shortstop Ryan Khoury when he dropped the flip on a possible double play.

Gary’s fourth run of Game 2 scored on Klipp’s fourth walk, which exacerbated another of Klipp’s problems Wednesday — an inability to stem the damage against him.

The first three batters of the second reached base for Gary, and, including the error in the fourth, the Railcats had their first four batters on base in the third. Klipp was removed after allowing three straight baserunners in the fourth — a walk, single and triple that produced two more runs and a 7-3 Gary lead.

“When you walk a guy, OK, fine, you walk one guy,” Hooper said. “Let’s minimize the damage. We weren’t able to do that tonight. It could have been way worse, because we did get out of jams here and there. You’ve got to come out there and set the tone as a pitching staff, and we didn’t do that there in the second game.”

Klipp, one of the most reliable Wingnuts pitchers for most of the season, has struggled through the last month. He has allowed four or more earned runs in four of his last five starts, during which his ERA is 5.57.

The Wingnuts had no such pitching difficulties in Game 1, when the only question was whether they could provide enough offense. Chris Smith pitched six innings and allowed one run, but Wichita managed just a C.J. Ziegler homer until the seventh. Ziegler’s 23rd home run extended his franchise record and league lead.

In the seventh, Nieves doubled to right-center to score Brent Clevlen with the game-winning run.

It temporarily gave Wichita a 9 1/2 game lead on Gary and trimmed their magic number for winning the division title outright to 10 with now 17 to play. Any combination of 10 Wingnuts wins and Gary losses will send Wichita to its fifth playoff appearance in six years.

“That was big winning the first one (because of) what happened in the second,” Hooper said. “We battled until the end in that first one and finally got some big hits at the end to finish things off.”

First Game

Klein lf4020Khoury ss4010
Massaro rf4110Kahaullio 2b2010
Kolb 3b4020Rodriguez dh3000
Maddox c2000Ziegler 1b4111
Bbneau ph,c1000Clevlen cf3110
Vitters 1b2020Nieves 3b4011
Guerrero dh3000Armstrong c3010
Martinez cf3010Beaird rf2020
Mitchell ss3000McDonald lf1000
Liles 2b3000


LOB— Gary 9, Wichita 12. 2B— Clevlen (16). 3B — Massaro (13). HR — Ziegler (23). SB — Klein (19), Kolb (11), Vitters (5).

Coombs4 2/361145
Lindquist (L, 2-2)121110

Wichita IP H R ER BB SO
Walters (W, 5-1)110001

HBP — by Smith (Vitters). WP — Walters (1). Umpires—Home, Pat McLaughlin; first, Darius Ghani; second, Dan Hoffman.

T— 2:18.

Second Game

Klein dh4012Khoury ss4122
Massaro rf3101Kahaullio 2b4000
Vitters 1b5100Rodrgz dh3010
Babineau c2100Zirgler 1b3000
Fronk lf2222Clevlen cf3120
Kolb 3b4111Nieves 3b3121
Martinez cf3211Beaird rf3110
Mitchell ss3111Bowden c3112
Brockett 2b3121McDonld lf3000


E— Khoury (17). DP— Gary 1, Wichita 1. LOB— Gary 8, Wichita 3. 2B— Fronk (1), Brockett (2), Khoury (11). 3B — Klein (6), Fronk (1), Mitchell (1), Bowden (1). HR — Khoury (3). SB — Massaro (10), Rodriguez (9).

Hiscock W,2-2684403

Wichita IP H R ER BB SO
Klipp L,6=3357650

WP — Hiscock. Umpires—Home, Darius Ghani; first base, Dan Hoffman; third base, Pat McLaughlin.

T— 2:31. A— 2,492.

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