Wichita’s bullpen unraveled for the third straight game, and for the first time it had an effect on the outcome, as Lincoln scored 10 unanswered runs to win 13-2 at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium that ended early Sunday morning
The game’s start was delayed for more than two hours Saturday night due to inclement weather, and it ended after the American Association curfew of midnight. That was probably a relief to the Wingnuts, who surely didn’t want their first loss of the season stretched over two days.
Nor did they likely want today to start with another relief pitcher on the mound, which would have happened if the game had been suspended when it passed curfew after the eighth inning.
Wichita’s starting pitchers have been sharp, allowing a collective three runs over 16 1/3 innings with Derek Blacksher and Ryan Hinson earning wins on Thursday and Friday.
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The bullpen has performed at the other extreme. Lincoln’s offense has livened when the Wingnuts’ starters leave the game, scoring 19 runs in 10 2/3 innings. Wichita’s rough relief outings didn’t cost the team in the first two games, as the Wingnuts held on for a pair of wins.
Josh Lowey exited after five innings in a 2-2 game on Saturday. Jared Simon, who failed to record an out Friday, got his ERA below infinity but still earned the loss, allowing a pair of runs in the sixth.
Moises Melendez met even more difficulty. Assigned the task to pitch the final 2 2/3 innings, Melendez couldn’t escape the eighth and allowed eight runs before being removed.
The big hits against Melendez were a three-run double by Alan Rick in the seventh and a three-run homer by Stephen Holdren in the eighth.
Wichita got a run in the second on an RBI single by Salomon Manriquez and tied it 2-2 on C.J. Ziegler’s RBI double in the third.
The finale of the four-game series is at 2:05 p.m. Sunday.