Wichita Wingnuts

Home runs doom Wingnuts in 9-6 loss to Lincoln

Catcher Brent Dean tags out a Saltdogs runner in the third inning Sunday afternoon at Lawrence–Dumont Stadium.
Catcher Brent Dean tags out a Saltdogs runner in the third inning Sunday afternoon at Lawrence–Dumont Stadium. Wichita Eagle

The Wingnuts’ recent late-inning offense isn’t an anomaly as much as a suggestion that productive innings should be happening more frequently.

Wichita had 58 baserunners via hit or walk during its season-opening four-game series with Lincoln but lost three times, including Sunday’s 9-6 defeat at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

The Wingnuts collected ten hits – the third time they reached that total in the series – and drew nine walks. But they created no momentum until the game appeared out of reach, scoring five times in the final two innings and bringing the tying run to the plate in the ninth.

On Saturday, Christian Stringer won the game for Wichita with a game-ending single in the bottom of the ninth.

“It’s just a matter of time,” Wingnuts outfielder T.J. Mittelstaedt said. “We’ve put up double-digit hits three … times in the series. It’s just a matter of not doing it with two outs. The first four games we get two outs, then we get two hits. Then it’s a pressure situation instead of getting it going right away.”

“It’s just the odds of sometimes a guy is going to get a hit leading off (an inning) and sometimes he’s not. Once it starts happening, we’ll be fine.”

Lincoln turned its heavy volume on the bases into runs with a tool the Wingnuts haven’t yet displayed – power. Richard Prigatano homered for Wichita on Sunday, the team’s first this season, but Lincoln hit four home runs in a three-inning stretch to extend an early lead.

Leadoff hitter Christian Ibarra’s fly ball to left field carried until it hit off the padding on the top of the left-field wall, then bounced over for a two-run fourth-inning home run. An inning later, Curt Smith and Jon Smith hit solo homers and in the sixth, Pat Kelly made it 8-1 with Lincoln’s fourth home run.

Lincoln homered or walked – or both – in each of the first seven innings, keeping its distance while the Wingnuts attempted to chip away using everything but the home run.

Wichita didn’t score following two walks in the first inning, wasted a leadoff double in the fourth and stranded three runners who walked in the sixth. The only hits the Wingnuts had in that stretch were Prigatano’s homer and a Mittelstaedt double.

“Once we start to be patient with runners in scoring position, we’ll be fine,” Wingnuts manager Pete Rose Jr. said. “I understand it, guys are anxious and they want to get up there and drive in runs. Once we kind of settle down and start to get into at-bats and get into at-bats, we’re going to be fine.”

Pinch-hitter Brennen Salgado, in his first at-bat this season, drove in two with a double in the eighth to make it 8-3 before Lincoln added a run in the top of the ninth.

Lincoln needed two pitchers to get through the bottom of the ninth, which the Saltdogs started with a comfortable lead. Wichita collected three hits and two walks and had two runners on base when Christian Stringer flied out to end the game.

The Wingnuts had three more baserunners than Lincoln during the series but scored eight fewer runs (21-13), pointing to Lincoln’s power superiority and Wichita’s inability to string more of those hits together.

“We’re going to be all right, we’re going to be fine,” Rose said. “Does anybody want to be 1-3? Of course not, we’d love to be 4-0 but we’ve got to play the hand we’re dealt. We did some good things today. When you’re down seven and bring the tying run to the plate in the ninth, you give yourself a chance.”

Lincoln

Wichita

ab

r

h

bi

ab

r

h

bi

Ibarra 3b

3

2

1

2

Stringer 2b

5

0

0

0

Colon cf

4

1

1

1

Cox 3b

4

0

1

0

C.Smith dh

5

2

2

1

Clevlen dh

5

0

1

0

Alen c

4

1

2

0

Geiger 1b

3

1

0

0

Leveret 1b

4

0

0

0

Mittlstdt lf

4

2

3

0

J.Smith lf

4

1

3

3

Kain cf

3

2

1

0

McKenna ss

3

0

0

0

Prigatano rf

4

1

2

3

Kelly 2b

5

1

1

1

Dean c

1

0

0

0

Harris rf

4

1

1

0

Salgado c

2

0

1

3

Urps ss

4

0

0

0

Chavez ph

1

0

1

0

Totals

36

9

11

8

Totals

36

6

10

6

Lincoln

300

221

001

9

Wichita

010

000

023

6

E— Medina. LOB— Lincoln 8, Wichita 13. 2B— Colon, C.Smith, Mittelstaedt, Salgado. HR — Ibarra (1), C. Smith (2), J.Smith (1), Kelly, Prigatano (1). SB — Leveret, Harris, Dean. SF — J.Smith, Salgado.

Lincoln

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Parry W,1-0

5

2

1

1

3

5

Zeigler

2

2

0

0

3

1

Brazis

1

3

2

2

1

1

Westcott

 1/3

2

3

3

2

0

McKenzie S,1

 2/3

1

0

0

0

0

Wichtia

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Medina L,0-1

5

7

7

7

4

1

Goldsmith

1

1

1

1

1

1

Ruff

1

1

0

0

1

0

Pratt

1

0

0

0

0

0

HArvey

1

2

1

1

1

2

WP — Medina 2, Ruff.

T— 3:09. A— 3,156.

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