Wichita Wingnuts

Wingnuts watch last hopes explode in 3-2 loss to Grand Prairie

The Wingnuts’ five-game winning streak ended with fireworks Friday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Literally.

Playing right up to the scheduled start of the Wichita River Festival’s opening-night fireworks celebration, Wingnuts designated hitter Taylor Oldham flied out as the sky lit up beyond left field, sealing the Grand Prairie AirHogs’ 3-2, come-from-behind victory in 10 innings.

The scene capped an evening of disjointed timing for the Wingnuts, who paid the price for stranding 13 baserunners in their first loss since the season opener at Joplin. Reliever Daniel Carela surrendered the tying runs with two outs in the top of the ninth, and Grand Prairie’s Josh Eatherly drove in the winning run off Brad Mincey with two outs in the 10th.

“That was a shame that we gave that game away,” Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper said. “You’ve got it right there in your hand and you can’t finish the game.”

Hooper lamented his team’s offensive performance. Wichita (5-2) left men on base in eight of the 10 innings. The Wingnuts’ only runs came on catcher John Nester’s two-run double in the third.

“We had some opportunities early in the game where we could have added some more runs and given our pen an easier road at the end,” Nester said. “We’ve been riding them all season. It’s a team thing and if we’d done a little bit better job early on, we wouldn’t have been in that situation.”

The Wingnuts entered the ninth leading 2-0, in large part to right-hander Tim Brown’s seven strong innings. Brown yielded eight hits and struck out three, not allowing a Grand Prairie runner past second base. After reliever Al Yevoli added a scoreless eighth, the Wingnuts’ staff had combined to allow one earned run in 38 innings.

“That’s why it’s a shame,” Hooper said. “Brown pitches his tail off and does exactly what he needs to do to win a ballgame, and we can’t finish it out.”

But Carela, a hard-throwing right-hander, couldn’t establish consistent command of his fastball in the ninth. With two on and two outs, Grand Prairie’s Jamodrick McGruder lifted a ball to right that dropped just out of the reach of Wichita’s David Espinosa. McGruder, who finished 2 for 4, entered the game batting .105.

After Grand Prairie reliever Dakota Watts struck out the side in the ninth, his team took the lead in the 10th. The Wingnuts turned their fourth double play of the night in the inning, but former Wichita player Victor Diaz doubled with two outs. After an intentional walk put runners at first and second, Eatherly, who entered the game as pinch runner in the ninth, guided the game-winning hit into right field.

A potential play at the plate never surfaced, as Espinosa bobbled the ball as he came up to throw.

Nester drew a walk off Watts to start the bottom of the 10th and moved to second on Brent Dean’s sacrifice bunt. But as fireworks started in the distance, Jayce Ray struck out and Oldham flied out to end the game.

“We haven’t swung the bats very well yet,” Hooper said. “As well as we have pitched, it was just a matter of time before it caught up to us.”

G. Prairie

Wichita

ab

r

h

bi

ab

r

h

bi

Elder lf

5

0

1

0

Hernandz 2b

5

1

2

0

Estrada ss

5

0

2

0

Gonzalez ss

5

1

1

0

Chavez c

5

0

2

0

Mittelsdt 3b

5

0

2

0

Diaz 1b

5

1

3

0

Geiger 1b

5

0

0

0

Burns pr

0

1

0

0

Espinosa rf

2

0

0

0

Hall 3b

4

0

0

0

NEster c

2

0

1

2

Ferrante rg

3

0

2

0

Dean lf

4

0

1

0

Eatherly rf

1

1

1

1

Ray cf

5

0

2

0

Gasporra dh

4

0

0

0

Oldham dh

5

0

1

0

Watts p

0

0

0

0

Harden ph

1

0

0

0

McGruder 2b

4

0

2

2

Jennings cf

3

0

1

0

Totals

40

3

14

3

Totals

38

2

10

2

G. Prairie

000

000

002

1

3

Wichita

002

000

000

0

2

DP— Wichita 4. LOB— Grand Prairie 10, Wichita 13. 2B— Chavez, Diaz, McGruder, Hernandez, Gonzalez, Nester. 3B — Mittelsteadt. CS — Ray.S — Dean..

G. Prairie

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Bozeman

5

7

2

2

4

3

Oliver

1

0

0

0

0

0

Dando

1

1

0

0

1

1

Harris

1

2

0

0

0

1

Watts W,1-0

2

0

0

0

1

4

Wichita

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Brown

7

8

0

0

0

3

Yevoli

1

1

0

0

0

0

Carela

1

2

2

2

2

2

Mincey L,0-1

1

3

1

1

1

0

T— 3:08. A— 3,588.

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