Amarillo starter Kellen Moen’s ERA barely moved Tuesday night, but the same can’t be said for Wingnuts batting averages.
With Amarillo errors serving as catalysts, the Wingnuts notched two big innings in a 10-5 win at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Moen allowed all 10 runs, but only one was earned, and his ERA raised two-tenths of a run to 1.64. He surrendered more home runs than earned runs.
The homers buried Moen as much as the errors, though. Jake Kahaulelio’s three-run blast in Wichita’s six-run sixth was followed by a J.T. Wise home run on the last pitch Moen threw.
Wichita started Jared Gaynor, in his first professional start one month removed from pitching in the NCAA postseason for George Mason, left with the lead after five innings but didn’t get the win because the Wingnuts lost the lead in the sixth.
Carlo Testa helped spur the Wingnuts’ sixth by narrowly beating out a grounder that second baseman Michael Broad bobbled.
“I think the most important thing was Carlo Testa beating out a ball off the end of the bat,” Kahaulelio said. “If he didn’t hustle down the line and beat that out, J.T. and I would have never had that opportunity. Things like that and guys that play hard like that actually feed into those innings. They’re trying to get on base for you.
“I think that was a big, big deal, and hats off to Carlo for doing that. J.T. and I shook his hand in the dugout and said, ‘That inning is because of you.’ A lot of guys jog down there, but he hustled and (got on base) out of it.”
Two Wichita runs scored on a throwing error by third baseman Kevin Mahoney in the sixth but a big inning isn’t possible without some big hits, and the Wingnuts had plenty of those among their 13 hits – 12 against Moen.
In the first, Wichita’s run-scoring hits were both singles, by Wise and Chris McClendon. In the sixth, the Wingnuts added power to their run-scoring repertoire via Kahaulelio and Wise. Kahaulelio lined his homer down the left-field line, and it cleared the short part of the wall just inside the foul pole for a three-run shot.
Kahaulelio’s home run was his first since June 2. Wise, who has been hitting them more frequently, made it 10-5 with a towering shot toward right-center field. It was his 12th of the season and 11th in his last 18 games, a stretch in which he has 24 RBIs.
Kahaulelio and Wise helped the Wingnuts respond after two Amarillo runs against reliever Daniel Bennett put the Sox ahead 5-4.
“It’s easy when everyone starts getting one big hit,” Kahaulelio said. “There starts to be more confidence in the dugout. When it’s dead, it’s hard.… You’ve got to play smarter baseball. We have to get a guy over with less than two outs, we have to do the small-ball stuff. That’s going to be the key, not the doubles and the two-run shots.”
Gaynor’s last start was on May 31 against Rice in an NCAA Regional in Houston. Gaynor lost that game, but went 8-5 with a 2.03 ERA during the season and the Wingnuts signed the undrafted left-hander when Anthony Capra went on the inactive list with a hamstring injury.
Gaynor relies on changing speeds, even without an overpowering fastball, and can find trouble when his pitch location isn’t precise. He allowed two doubles and a home run in the fourth inning Tuesday, but retired the final five batters he faced.
He finished his outing with an eight-pitch fifth inning against the only three Amarillo hitters he faced three times.
“You never know your first professional outing, you never know the outcome,” Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper said. “But he’s very calm and collected and doesn’t have a lot that fazes him, and he did a good job tonight.”
|Perren lf||5||0||2||0||Khoury ss||5||1||2||0|
|Weik 1b||4||0||0||0||Testa lf||4||1||0||0|
|Patton rf||4||0||0||0||Kahaullo 2b||5||2||3||3|
|Nichols dh||4||0||0||0||Wise c||5||2||3||2|
|Bellows ss||4||2||3||0||McMurray dh||4||1||0||0|
|Martin cf||3||2||1||1||McClndn 3b||3||1||1||1|
|Mahoney 3b||3||1||2||4||Oldham rf||4||1||2||1|
|Broad 2b||4||0||0||0||Whyte 1b||3||1||0||0|
|Henk c||4||0||0||0||Amberson cf||4||0||2||0|
|Amarillo||000||302||000||—||5 8 4|
|Wichita||400||006||00x||—||10 13 0|
E – Patton (2), Mahoney (6), Broad (3), Moen (1). DP – Amarillo 2. LOB — Amarillo 6, Wichita 6. 2B – Bellows 2 (7), Martin (11), Mahoney (11), Khoury (12), Amberson (8). HR – Mahoney (1), Kahaulelio (3), Wise (12). SB – Khoury (15).
|Moen L, 2-2||5 2/3||12||10||1||1||1|
|Bennett W, 1-0||1||2||2||2||0||1|
HBP – Martin by Gaynor; Mahoney by Bennett. Umpires — Home, Sam Burch; 1B, Art Thigpen; 3B, Trent Delmont.
T – 2:53. A – 3,099.