Wingnuts reliever J.R. Bolin made his first professional appearance Tuesday, starting the top of the eighth with three hitters who have a combined 28 years of pro experience due up.
The results weren't too surprising — Bolin walked Juan Richardson before allowing a two-run home run to Argelis Nunez to surrender a one-run lead.
Wichita's veteran hitters didn't have to swing to get the lead back in the bottom of the eighth. Jorge Cortes drew a bases-loaded, four-pitch walk, then Lincoln reliever Adam Daniels threw a wild pitch with Jackson Melian at bat to score the go-ahead run in the Wingnuts' 8-7 win at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Wichita has won seven straight.
Adam Daniels' mistakes against Cortes and Melian were the last instances of sloppy play by Lincoln, which committed four errors to more than offset miscues by the Wingnuts.
The game's first batter, Lincoln center fielder Gavin Dickey, hit a high fly ball between Wingnuts center fielder Ryan Patterson and middle infielders Josh Horn and Rene Ruiz.
Patterson, who charged in on the ball, dropped an attempted basket catch and was charged with an error. Dickey scored on a sacrifice fly and Nunez provided another unearned run against Wichita starter Nick Singleton with a two-out solo home run.
Phil Hawke led off the top of the second with Lincoln's second solo homer, and the next batter, Jeremy Gillan, hit a fly ball to the gap in right-center that Patterson attempted to chase down. It hit off his glove for a triple, and Gillan scored on a sacrifice fly to put Lincoln ahead 4-0.
Patterson atoned for his defensive problems in the bottom of the second, though. After Jeff Christy singled and scored on a wild throw to third from the outfield, Patterson delivered his fifth home run, a towering three-run shot to left that tied it 4-4.
Lincoln grabbed the lead back in the third with the help of an error by third baseman Mike Bell, his first since joining the team four days ago. Singleton and the defense avoided further damage with a double play by Juan Camacho after Singleton fell behind in the count 3-0 and a flyout by Gillan.
Singleton had a rough outing, throwing 103 pitches, but got off the hook with a no-decision because the Wingnuts tied it in the fourth. Stephen Pearson led off with a double and scored on Bell's single.
The Wingnuts weren't immune to mistakes after Patterson's dropped balls and the error by Bell. They ran into a pair of outs on the bases, and Bolin's leadoff walk in the eighth led to two runs.
But Lincoln's lapses were most damaging. The Wingnuts took a 6-5 lead in the sixth when Pearson singled, advanced to second on a dropped strikeout and stole third. Gillan attempted to pick him off when he strayed far off third, but Richardson couldn't handle the throw and Pearson scored.
Bolin's outing was forgettable, but Dustin Pease retired two of the three batters he faced in the eighth, working around a one-out single by Phil Hawke.
The Wingnuts' eighth started with a Pearson single, but he was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double. Bell restarted the rally with a single, and Ruiz walked before Horn grounded out to Daniels.
An intentional walk to Patterson loaded the bases but left Daniels no room for error, and he lost the lead in a span of six pitches to Cortes and Melian.
The game lasted more than 3 1/2 hours and included notable instances that didn't come between the lines. Three fans were ejected for jawing at Lincoln players, bringing nearly everyone from Lincoln's dugout out to confront them. In the eighth, Christy was hit in the head or face by a Mario Delgado foul ball, but he stayed in the game to catch the ninth.