WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (19-18) lost 9-8 to the Wichita Wingnuts at Shaw Park on Tuesday night.
The Goldeyes trailed 9-1 as late as the sixth inning before ultimately falling one run short.
Josh Romanski and Reggie Abercrombie opened the sixth with back-to-back walks. A wild pitch with Eric Aguilera at the plate moved the runners to second and third. After Aguilera flied out to right, Andrew Sohn singled through the left side to score Romanski. John Hayes relieved Jackson Sigman before Josh Mazzola clubbed a three-run home run to left-centre that pulled the Goldeyes within 9-5.
“I thought our team fought well today,” said Romanski. “We had some bad breaks early in the game, and they came out swinging their bats pretty well. They got into a big lead, but our guys chipped away and got within a run going into the ninth inning. All you can ask is to be within striking distance going into the bottom of the ninth.”
Brandon Bingel pitched around a leadoff double in the top of the seventh, including strikeouts of Tony Thomas and Abel Nieves to strand runners on the corners.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Goldeyes loaded the bases with no outs when Romanski and Abercrombie singled, and Aguilera reached on an error. Two batters later, Mazzola walked on four pitches to force home Winnipeg’s sixth run.
John Nester led off the top of the eighth with a double, but was stranded on third by Jack Charleston. With Nester on third and two outs, Romanski made a run-saving, diving catch to rob Leo Vargas.
Dave Sappelt drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the eighth, and the Goldeyes pulled within 9-8 when Romanski lined a two-run home run to right field.
Victor Capellan pitched a scoreless top of the ninth to keep it a one-run game. Mazzola recorded the first out by robbing Logan Watkins of any further swings on a foul popup. Mazzola tracked down the ball high in the air before making the catch and tumbling into the first row of seats down the third base line.
The Goldeyes put the tying run on base in the bottom of the ninth on a two-out, pinch-hit single by Tucker Nathans, but Daniel Tillman finished off a scoreless inning to earn his 11th save of the year.
Fernando Perez singled home Watkins in the top of the first with the game’s first run. Kevin Garcia helped Goldeyes’ starter Alex Boshers record the final out of the inning by throwing out Perez on a steal attempt of second.
In the bottom of the first, Matt McCann reached on a leadoff error by Vargas at shortstop, took second when Sappelt drew an eight-pitch walk, and scored the tying run on a Romanski single through the right side.
The Wingnuts (24-13) opened a 4-1 lead in the top of the second on a Vargas two-run single and a Zach Nehrir two-out, RBI double.
Wichita then scored five times in the top of the third to stretch the lead to 9-1. Tony Thomas hit a two-run home run to centre that was nearly pulled back by Abercrombie. With two outs, Watkins and Nehrir delivered RBI singles. The Wingnuts’ ninth run came home on a wild pitch.
Casey Harman (5-1) picked up the win for Wichita, allowing one unearned run on two hits over five innings. Harman walked three and struck out five.
Boshers (2-4) took the loss for the Goldeyes, allowing nine earned runs on 12 hits in two and two-thirds. Boshers walked one and struck out two.
Calvin Drummond pitched three and one-third scoreless innings in long relief of Boshers. Drummond struck out three.
The series concludes Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. The Goldeyes’ starting pitcher is to be determined. The Wingnuts go with right-hander Charles Gillies (2-1, 2.55). Tickets for all Goldeyes’ home games are on sale now by visiting www.ticketmaster.ca/Goldeyes, or visiting any Ticketmaster location, including the box office at Shaw Park.