(Photo Credit: Ed Bailey)
WICHITA, KS — The Winnipeg Goldeyes (23-22) beat the Wichita Wingnuts 9-5 at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium Wednesday night.
“It’s a good place to hit,” said Goldeyes hitting coach Tom Vaeth “Combined with an umpire who’s zone is a little tight at times, thats a recipe for a big offensive night for both sides. It forces your pitchers to throw to the big part of the plate and good hitters should be doing this kind of damage. You have to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves, we have to get back to this kind of baseball where we’re able to score a couple runs early and turn it over to the bullpen.”
The Goldeyes’ offence came out swinging in the top of the first. Andrew Sohn reached second on a two-base throwing error from Leo Vargas and stole third one-batter later. Josh Romanski hit an infield single that scored Sohn. With two-outs Reggie Abercrombie hit a ground-ball to second and outran a double play attempt that kept the inning alive. Shawn Pleffner doubled, and David Bergin hit an RBI single to left field that scored Pleffner and Abercrombie. Mason Katz hit an RBI line drive to centre field that drove in Bergin and extended the Goldeyes lead to 4-0.
“We talk all the time about inning extenders,” said Vaeth “Beating the double play ball, an infield hit, or battling with two-strikes, thats the way you have to manufacture runs in this league.”
In the top of the second, Sohn was hit by a pitch from emergency starter Jesse Pratt. David Rohm walked and was brought home one-batter later by a Romanski single to right field. Abercrombie singled past Christian Stringer that drove in Rohm, and Pleffner singled to left field that scored Romanski and made it 7-0 for the Goldeyes.
The Wingnuts got on the board with three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Matt Chavez led off with a single to right field. Martin Medina hit a pop-up behind first, Jordan Ebert dropped the ball but was able to run the ball to first before tossing the ball to Sohn at second to putout Chavez and turn a bizarre double-play. Brennen Salgado walked, Richard Prigatano hit a two-out, two-run home run to left centre field, followed by a solo home run from Vargas that cut the Goldeyes lead to 7-3.
In the top of the fifth, the Goldeyes loaded the bases after three consecutive singles from Wes Darvill, Katz and Ebert. Rohm hit an RBI single to right field that scored Darvill.
In the bottom of the fifth, Chavez added to his league leading RBI Total after a single to left field scored Stringer and brought the Wingnuts within four runs. With the bases loaded, Pleffner fielded a foul pop-up out of the second row of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium to limit the damage and end the inning.
Pleffner doubled off the left wall off the first pitch from reliever Austin Boyle in the sixth, three-batters later Katz hit a sacrifice fly that scored Pleffner that made it 9-4.
Wichita made it 9-5 in the bottom of the seventh, when Chavez hit a solo home run to deep centre field.
Jesse Pratt (1-1) who filled in last minute for WIngnuts’ starter Tyler Kane (6-1) took the loss. Pratt allowed seven runs, three earned runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out one through one inning pitched.
Goldeyes’ starter Mikey O’Brien (5-2) earned the win, allowing four earned runs, eight hits, walking five and striking out three through five innings pitched.
“It was nice to give him a big lead to work with,” said Vaeth “He put up the zeros when he needed to, his pitch count got a little elevated, and we were able to turn it over to the bullpen to close it out for us.”
Kenny Matthews, Daniel Minor, Victor Capellan, and Ryan Chaffee pitched one inning a piece in relief. Combining for three scoreless innings, one earned run on five hits, no walks and four strikeouts.
The Goldeyes take on the Gary SouthShore Railcats at 7:05 p.m. Thursday night. Edwin Carl (3-1, 5.11) will get the start for the Goldeyes, The RailCats have yet to announce a starting pitcher.
The Goldeyes return home on Tuesday, July 11th when they host the Sioux City Explorers. Tickets for all Goldeyes’ home games are on sale now by calling 1-855-GOLDEYE, visiting www.ticketmaster.ca, or visiting any Ticketmaster location, including the box office at Shaw Park.
For information on Winnipeg Goldeyes’ season tickets, 10-game mini packs, and group outings, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-BASE or visit the Goldeyes’ official website at www.goldeyes.com