WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes fell 9-2 to the Wichita Wingnuts in Game Two of the American Association Championship Series at Shaw Park on Thursday night.
The best-of-five series is now tied 1-1.
The Wingnuts scored in six of their nine team at bats, beginning with a solo home run to left-centre from Matt Chavez that led off the top of the second.
“They (Wichita) were good,” said Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney . “They had a lot of really good at-bats off McGovern early. They had a nice approach, and they were patient. When he (McGovern) got ahead of guys, he got people out. When he fell behind, they penalized him for it. That’s a good hitting team over there. They played a fantastic game. They pitched well and got a great start from their starter. He didn’t win 12 games this year by accident. Wichita looked really good today, and we’ve got ourselves a series.”
Leo Vargas opened the third with a line drive single to left and took second on a throwing error. Christian Stringer followed with a double to right-centre that scored Vargas. Stringer advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored the Wingnuts’ third run when Brent Clevlen lifted a sacrifice fly to right.
Winnipeg cut the lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the third. Adam Heisler doubled for a fourth time in the last three postseason games with one out, and scored two batters later on a two-out, RBI single to left from Willie Cabrera. Cabrera finished the night with three hits.
The Wingnuts added a run in the fourth when Chavez singled leading off and scored from first on Nick Van Stratten’s double off the wall in left-centre.
A three-run top of the sixth allowed Wichita to stretch the lead to 7-1. With first and third and one out, Van Stratten hit a soft single to centre that brought in Clevlen. After Harrison Kain walked to load the bases, Martin Medina pulled a single to left that drove in Chavez and Van Stratten.
“We’ve been pretty good in our grey costumes all year,” said Forney on the series shifting to Wichita. “We’re not afraid of it. We like to hit in the top of the first.”
Cabrera led off the bottom of the sixth with a single up the middle, and later scored on a two-out, RBI hit to centre from Casio Grider. Six of Winnipeg’s seven runs scored in the series have come on two-out hits.
Wichita’s final two runs came on a two-out, infield single from Van Stratten in the seventh, and a two-out single down the right field line from Chavez in the ninth. Chavez and Van Stratten combined for nine hits in 10 at bats.
“Whether you lose 20-0 or 1-0, it’s all the same,” said Forney. “You have to move on. You can’t dwell on it too much, and, as I told McGovern today, when it wasn’t his day, I took him out as soon as I possibly could, (and) said ‘you’ve got to get over this in a hurry, because Game Five, you’re going to be right back out there, if it comes to that.’ You don’t dwell on it too much. I think everybody will be just fine.”
Kevin McGovern (0-1) started for the Goldeyes and took the loss, allowing six runs, five earned, on eight hits in five and one-third innings. McGovern walked two and struck out four.
Alex Boshers (2-0) earned the win for the Wingnuts, allowing two earned runs on eight hits in six innings. Boshers walked none and struck out one.
Robert Tasin worked a scoreless inning in the top of the eighth in his postseason debut. David Rohm singled in the fourth and has now hit safely in all seven of the Goldeyes’ playoff games.
American Association Championship Series Schedule (series tied 1-1)
Game 1 – Wednesday, September 14th – Goldeyes 5 – Wingnuts 0
Game 2 – Thursday, September 15th – Wingnuts 9 – Goldeyes 2
Game 3 – Saturday, September 17th – Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, 7:05 p.m.
Game 4 – Sunday, September 18th – Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, 5:05 p.m.
Game 5* – Monday, September 19th – Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, 7:05 p.m.
Game Three of the American Association Championship Series is Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. All the action can be heard locally on 93.7 FM CJNU and worldwide at www.cjnu.ca. This season’s final edition of “Around the Association” airs at 6:00 p.m.
For information on 2017 season tickets, 10-Game Mini Packs, or group outings, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-2273.