Photo Credit: Jancy Ireland Photography
AMARILLO, TX- The Wichita Wingnuts (32-15) snapped a four-game losing streak, beating the Amarillo Sox (25-23) 6-3 at Amarillo National Bank Sox Stadium on Saturday night.
Gerardo Avila broke a 3-3 tie with a two-out, three run home run in the top of the eighth to help support seven and one-third strong innings from Wingnuts' starter Derek Blacksher. Blacksher was working on three days of rest.
Ryan Khoury lined a one-out single down the right field line in the top of the eighth. Jared McDonald hit a groundball to second base and beat out a potential double play relay to first to keep the inning alive. A wild pitch sent McDonald to second and prompted an intentional walk to John Rodriguez. Avila ripped a home run on the next pitch over the upper fence of advertisements in right-center.
Blacksher recorded the first out in the bottom of the eighth before giving way to Nick Walters who finished the rest of the inning with the 6-3 lead intact.
Matt Nevarez struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth to earn his fifth save of the year.
Adam Buschini gave Amarillo an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second with a groundball single to center that scored Tim Alberts. Alberts opened the inning with a double down the left field line.
With second and third and two outs in the top of the third, Rodriguez lined a two-run single to left-center that gave Wichita its first lead of the night.
Steve Carrillo doubled to left-center leading off the fourth, took third on David Peralta's groundout to second, and scored Wichita's third run on Sean Smith's sacrifice fly to right.
Amarillo scored a run in the fifth on a passed ball to get within one, and tied the game in the seventh on a two-out groundball single to center from Chuck Lofgren.
Blacksher allowed three runs, two earned, on seven hits to earn the win. Blacksher struck out four and did not allow a walk. Blacksher retired 15 of the final 18 batters to face him from the third inning into the eighth.
Peralta turned an unassisted double play from right field to end the bottom of the third. With Harrison Kain on first and one out, Kain ran on a 3-2 pitch to Matthew Tucker. Tucker hit a line drive to right-center that Peralta caught while diving toward the infield. With Kain already on third base, Peralta ran the ball back to first to finish the inning.
Phil Bartleski started and took the loss for the Sox, allowing six earned runs on nine hits in eight innings. Bartleski walked one and struck out two.
The series continues Sunday evening at 6:05 p.m. Ryan Hinson faces right-hander Ryan Mitchell. All the action can be heard locally on Oldies 92.7 KWME and worldwide at www.pressboxproductionsradio.com
The Wingnuts return home on Wednesday, July 11th when they host the Kansas City T-Bones. Individual tickets can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com
For 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