Wichita Wingnuts

Wingnuts drop season-opener to Lincoln 6-1

The Wichita Eagle

Harrison Kain’s four hits and an assist from center field were a not-so uplifting addendum to the topic he couldn’t avoid.

Kain, a Wingnuts outfielder, let a groundball under his glove in the second inning against Lincoln on Thursday. Four runs, including the batter, Pat McKenna, scored, and Lincoln defeated the Wingnuts 6-1 in the season-opener at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

Thursday’s game was the first for Wingnuts manager Pete Rose Jr.

Asked about his otherwise impressive night, Kain turned the focus toward the glaring and pivotal mark in the opposite column.

“It started with me in the (second) inning, it kind of changed the whole dynamic and the attitude of the game,” Kain said. “Just a wet field, it hit that (painted-on) logo out there and stayed down. I think things could have been a little different if I field that cleanly.”

Kain was expected a more favorable bounce, which he probably would have gotten if rain hadn’t fallen on the turf most of Thursday afternoon.

The damp surface produced a skidding effect for balls hit to the outfield and Kain’s eagerness to make a play with the bases loaded worked against him when McKenna’s hit got to him more quickly than Kain expected.

A batter before, right fielder Brent Clevlen allowed a fly ball to drop in front of him, loading the bases instead of recording the second out and keeping two runners aboard.

McKenna’s hit, ruled a single with a three-base error, put Lincoln ahead 4-0.

“I don’t think (Kain) will ever make an error like that again and I don’t think he ever has before,” Rose said. “He’s a heck of a defender from what I’ve been told and just by watching him work. Wet turf, what are you going to do? A game of inches, and it was probably by that much.”

Kain did his best to balance out his night, collecting four of the Wingnuts’ 10 hits. Three of Kain’s singles came with two outs and symbolized Wichita’s inability to string offense together.

The Wingnuts didn’t record consecutive hits until the eighth inning, when they had three hits but failed to score. Dustin Geiger led off with a single but was erased on a double play before the Wingnuts ended the eighth with two runners left on after a Matt Chavez double and Kain’s fourth hit.

“We hit right up there with them,” Kain said. “But (the lack of) timely hitting and that error by me kind of hurt us. We’ve just got to get better.”

Lincoln starter Shairon Martis worked through the first two innings on 16 combined pitches but Saltdogs pitchers didn’t throw fewer than 17 in any subsequent inning until the ninth.

The Wingnuts, who weren’t retired in order after the second, drew three walks and stranded 11 runners in spite of their improved approach against Martis and Lincoln relievers following the first two innings.

“It’s always easier the second time through the lineup,” Kain said. “You kind of see what movement he has on his pitches, he starts throwing his secondary pitches. We were just trying to be a little bit more selective – obviously on opening day everybody’s adrenaline is going and everyone wants to be aggressive.

“Second time around we swung the bats a little bit better, worked the count a little bit. We started doing what we know what we can do. Ten hits isn’t bad. One run – we’ve just got to string them together a little bit.”

Lincoln

Wichita

ab

r

h

bi

ab

r

h

bi

Ibarra 3b

5

0

2

0

Stringer 2b

5

0

2

0

Colon cf

4

0

1

0

Cox 3b

5

0

2

0

Smith 1b

5

1

2

0

Clevlen rf

4

1

0

0

Alen c

5

1

2

0

Geiger 1b

4

0

1

0

Leveret dh

4

2

3

1

Mittlstdt lf

2

0

0

0

Smith rf

3

0

1

1

Chavez dh

4

0

1

0

Jacobs lf

4

1

1

0

Kain cf

4

0

4

1

McKenna ss

4

1

1

2

Dean c

4

0

0

0

Kelly 2b

4

0

0

0

Vargas ss

3

0

0

0

Urps ph

1

0

0

0

Totals

38

6

13

4

Totals

36

1

10

1

Lincoln

041

010

000

6

Wichita

000

100

000

1

E—Kain. LOB— Lincoln 7, Wichita 11. CP – Lincoln. 2B— Alen, Smith, Chavez. CS – Colon.

Lincoln

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Martis W,1-0

5

4

1

1

2

4

Shepherd

1

1

0

0

1

1

Westcott

2

4

0

0

0

1

Reed

1

1

0

0

0

1

Wichita

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Link L,0-1

6

9

6

5

1

3

Pratt

2

3

0

0

1

2

Goldsmith

1

1

0

0

0

0

WP — Martis.

T— 2:49. A— 3,726.

Lincoln at Wingnuts

  • When: 7:05 p.m. Friday
  • Where: Lawrence-Dumont Stadium
  • Records: Lincoln 1-0, Wingnuts 0-1
  • Radio: KGSO, 1410-AM
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