SIOUX CITY, Iowa (July 8, 2018) – The Wichita Wingnuts became just the second team to take a series from the Sioux City Explorers in 2018, claiming the rubber match with an 11-8 win on Sunday night at Lewis & Clark Park.
It was a back-and-forth ballgame from the very first inning. Wichita (29-18) got three runs on RBI doubles from Abel Nieves and Tony Thomas that preceded a run-scoring single from John Nester. The Explorers (36-12) responded quickly with two runs in the bottom of the inning, as Michael Lang lifted a solo homer and Nate Samson cracked a sacrifice fly to make the score 3-2.
After a scoreless second inning, the Wingnuts added to the lead in the third on an RBI single from Graylin Derke that made it 4-2. Samson singled home a run for Sioux City in the home half to pull back within 4-3. Zach Nehrir plated a run with a fielder’s choice in the fourth for a 5-3 lead, but again the Explorers answered, this time on a Dexture McCall RBI groundout that yielded a 5-4 score.
After Nick Rotola walked with the bases loaded in the fifth for a 6-4 Wingnuts advantage, Sioux City finally moved in front with four two-out runs in the bottom of the inning. Jay Baum provided the big blow in the frame with a two-run double, and a Leo Vargas throwing error scored another to put the Explorers in front 8-6.
All the runs came against Wingnuts starter Jordan Cooper, who finished with a no-decision in five innings of work. The right-hander allowed eight hits and eight runs, five of which were earned.
The Wingnuts this time had the answer, tying the game on a two-run home run from Thomas that evened the score at 8-8. Logan Watkins put Wichita in front with a booming RBI double in the top of the seventh against Ryan Flores (4-1), scoring Logan Trowbridge all the way from first base for a 9-8 lead. Two more runs in the top of the ninth put the nail in the coffin, as Watkins laid down a bunt single with runners at first and second that was then thrown away by Sioux City catcher Dylan Kelly. The error scored one run, then Nieves lifted a sacrifice fly to produce the game’s final margin.
Seth Harvey (4-1) picked up the win with two scoreless innings in relief, part of a spectacular effort by the Wingnuts bullpen over the three-game series. All told, Wingnuts relievers fired 9.1 shutout innings in the series, including a scoreless ninth inning from Austin Boyle to nail down his first save.
The Wingnuts return home to welcome in the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks for a three-game series on Monday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM, and will be broadcast on 1410 AM/93.9 FM KGSO, TuneIn and americanassociationbaseball.tv.
For information on season 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.