Photo Credit: Jancy Ireland Photography
WICHITA, KS- The Wichita Wingnuts (33-18) defeated the Kansas City T-Bones (27-26) 4-2 at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Wednesday night.
Matt Nevarez escaped a first and second, no out jam in the top of the ninth to record his sixth save of the year. With the Wingnuts leading 4-2, Trevor Coleman drew a leadoff walk. Enrique Cruz reached on an error charged to third baseman Steve Carrillo to put the tying runs on base. Nevarez perservered, retiring Hunter Mense on a popped up sacrifice attempt for the first out, and then ended the game when Bubby Williams grounded into a game-ending double play started by newly-signed second baseman Jairo Perez.
Wichita scored twice in the bottom of the first and never trailed over the course of the game. Ryan Khoury bunted for a single leading off and took third on a hit-and-run single through the left side from Carrillo. John Rodriguez reached first on an infield single that loaded the bases with no outs. Gerardo Avila drove in Khoury from third with a fielder's choice groundball to second. Perez made it 2-0 on a hard single up the middle.
McDonald led off the bottom of the second with an infield single deep at shortstop and went to third when Mike Conroy singled on a groundball to right field. Khoury lined a single to center that plated McDonald with the Wingnuts' third run.
Nate Robertson, who was activated from the 7-Day Disabled List prior to the game, tossed three shutout innings in his third start of the year. Robertson allowed one hit, one walk, and struck out two in a no-decision.
Andrew Aizenstadt pitched two innings in relief of Robertson and earned his first professional win.
Kansas City's only runs came on a two-run homer to left from Ray Sadler in the top of the fourth inning. Aizenstadt escaped a first and third, no out jam in the top of the fifth to protect the one-run lead. Devin Goodwin slapped a hard line drive to first that Avila caught and then turned into an unassisted double play. Aizenstadt retired Brandon Jones for the final out of the inning on a foul popup to Carrillo to strand the tying run at third.
Jared Simon took over for Aizenstadt and threw two scoreless innings. Simon struck out the side in order in the top of the sixth. Nick Walters and James Baker combined for a perfect eighth before giving way to Nevarez in the ninth.
Wichita produced an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning. McDonald drew a leadoff walk, stole second, took third on Mike Conroy's sacrifice bunt, and scored on another RBI single from Khoury.
Devin Anderson started for the T-Bones and took the loss. Anderson allowed three earned runs on nine hits in five innings. Anderson walked four and struck out seven.
In addition to activating Robertson before the game, the Wingnuts signed Perez and rookie catcher Mason Morioka. Perez hit .265 this season with six home runs and 30 RBI in 65 games played for the Florida State League's Fort Myers Miracle (High-A, Minnesota Twins). Last season, Perez batted .337 with 15 home runs and 60 RBI in just 74 games played for the Low-A Midwest League's Beloit Snappers.
Morioka was a senior this past spring at the University of San Francisco. Morioka appeared in 59 games, hitting .251 with three home runs and 19 RBI.
Wichita released veteran outfielder Sean Smith and catcher Taylor Freeman. Second baseman Zac Mitchell was claimed off of waivers by the Gary SouthShore RailCats.
The Wingnuts finish the home portion of their four-game series against the T-Bones on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. Wichita has not yet announced a starting pitcher. The T-Bones go with right-hander Brian Grening. 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