FORT WORTH, TX- The Wichita Wingnuts won 12-5 over the Fort Worth Cats at LaGrave Field on Monday night.
Juan Richardson nearly hit for the cycle, while left-hander Ryan Hinson became the first Wingnuts' starter this season to earn a victory.
For a third time in five games, the Wingnuts pushed across three runs in the top of the first inning. Josh Horn reached base in the opening plate appearance for a fifth straight game, walking against Cats' starter Gary Lee. Jorge Cortes drew a one-out walk to put runners on first and second, which set up a two-run triple down the right field line for Juan Richardson that gave the Wingnuts a 2-0 lead. Jorge Delgado drove in Richardson with an RBI single through the right side.
The Cats threatened in the bottom of the inning, cutting the lead to 3-1 on an RBI single from John Allen. But Hinson limited the damage, and induced an inning-ending force play on Cory Morales to leave the bases loaded. Hinson worked around a leadoff double from Derek Kinzler in the second to keep the Wingnuts ahead by two.
Wichita broke the game open in the third, scoring four times. Horn, Ryan Patterson, Cortes, and Richardson opened the inning with consecutive singles, with the latter two driving in runs. After the Wingnuts loaded the bases, Josh Workman and Edwin Bellorin hit back-to-back sacrifice flies that opened a 7-1 lead.
Facing reliever Tyler Seamon in the fourth, Wichita extended its lead even further with a five-run frame. Richardson doubled home Patterson from first base with one out to make it 8-1. A bases loaded walk to Bellorin forced home the Wingnuts' ninth run, while Mike Conroy capped off the team's offensive attack with a three-run triple to the right-center field fence.
Conroy made a spectacular play in the bottom of the third. After Travis Metcalf grounded a ball down the left field line and towards the Wingnuts' bullpen, Conroy crossed into foul territory, retrieved the ball, and made an off-balance, line drive throw to Thomas Fitzgerald at second base who tagged out Metcalf by several feet.
In the top of the fifth, and with a triple, single, and double to his credit, Richardson crushed a line drive that hit off the upper part of the left field wall, narrowly missing the home run needed to complete the cycle.
Hinson worked six full innings, allowing two earned runs on nine hits. Hinson struck out five and walked four. David Miller pitched the final three innings to earn the save, allowing three earned runs.
Lee took the loss, allowing seven earned runs in 3.0 IP. Seamon worked five full innings in long relief.
The Wingnuts and Cats continue their series on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. Nick Singleton makes his second start of the year and will be opposed by former Wingnuts' righty Derek Blacksher. All the action can be heard locally on Oldies 93.5 KWME and worldwide at www.kleyam.com
Wichita's 2011 home opener is Friday, May 20th versus the El Paso Diablos. For tickets, call the Wingnuts' office at (316) 264-NUTS or by visiting the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com