GARY, Ind. (September 7, 2017) – A four-run top of the third and four shutout innings from the bullpen spurred the Wichita Wingnuts to a 5-2 victory and a 2-0 series lead over the Gary SouthShore RailCats on Thursday night at U.S. Steel Yard.
With no score in the top of the third, the Wingnuts put their first two men on against RailCats starter Jeff McKenzie (0-1). Leo Vargas then bunted back to the mound, but McKenzie’s throw to third skipped down the left field line, allowing Brennen Salgado to score for a 1-0 Wichita lead. Christian Stringer followed by lining a single into center that scored two, and Brent Clevlen capped the scoring by bouncing into a fielder’s choice that increased the Wingnuts edge to 4-0.
Gary immediately responded by putting their first four men aboard in the bottom of the frame, including an RBI single from Alex Crosby that sliced the advantage to 4-1. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Wingnuts starter Alex Boshers (1-0) buckled down, striking out the next two and inducing a groundout to limit the damage to a single run.
The RailCats cut further into the lead with a Crosby solo homer in the fifth, but Boshers stranded a pair to keep the lead at 4-2. The righty tossed five innings, tying his career-high with seven strikeouts while walking a pair and allowing six hits.
Richard Prigatano provided a big insurance run in the top of the sixth. After Matt Chavez doubled, Prigatano ripped an RBI single into left that extended the lead to 5-2.
The bullpen locked it down from there, with four different relievers each tossing a scoreless frame. Tyler Kane got around a pair of singles in the sixth to start the stretch, getting out of the inning when Cole Fabio’s grounder struck the foot of Gary baserunner Reggie Wilson. Austin Boyle allowed a one-out walk in the seventh that was promptly erased by Martin Medina on a caught stealing, then Mike Devine danced past a leadoff error to post a zero in the eighth. Ryan Kussmaul nailed down the victory with a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out a pair to send the Wingnuts back to Wichita with a 2-0 series advantage.
The Wingnuts and RailCats continue their series with Game Three at 7:05 on Saturday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Eddie Medina (9-3, 3.08) gets the start for Wichita, while Gary SouthShore has yet to announce a starter. All the action will be broadcast on 1410 AM/93.9 FM, and at americanassociationbaseball.tv.
For information on tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.
Photo Credit: Ed Bailey/Wichita Wingnuts