Photo Credit: Jancy Ireland Photography
WICHITA, KS- The Wichita Wingnuts (53-39) beat the Gary SouthShore RailCats (46-47) 8-4 at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
With the win, the Wingnuts trimmed their magic number down to one with eight games left to play to clinch the American Association Central Division.
The Wingnuts scored eight unanswered runs over their final four team at bats to overcome an early 4-0 deficit. The comeback started in the bottom of the fifth when Wilson Batista singled with one out. Batista stole second base, and later scored on back-to-back wild pitches with two outs from RailCats' starter Jon Gulbransen.
With first and second and one out in the bottom of the sixth, Greg Porter singled to left-center to score Ryan Khoury with the Wingnuts' second run. Jake Kahaulelio took third base on Porter's hit and scored on a wild pitch from reliever Nolan Nicholson. With Porter now on second, C.J. Ziegler tied the game with a sharp groundball that deflected off Nicholson's leg and into shallow right field.
Wichita took its first lead of the game with four runs in the bottom of the eighth. Porter and Ziegler hit consecutive singles to give the Wingnuts first and third with no outs. Peralta drove in the lead run with a line drive single to center. After Batista walked to load the bases, Mier lifted a sacrifice fly to right to bring in Ziegler. Jared McDonald lined a single to right-center to score Peralta, while Batista came home on Steve Stanley's fielder's choice to second.
Josh Dew threw a perfect top of the ninth to close out the game. James Hoyt earned the win in relief for the Wingnuts with a scoreless eighth.
Marshall Schuler took the loss for Gary SouthShore, allowing four earned runs in two innings.
Nick Walters and Edgar Martinez joined Hoyt and Dew in three and two-thirds scoreless innings from the Wingnuts' bullpen.
The RailCats scored the first run of the game in the top of the second on a two-out, RBI single to right from Chase Tucker. Tucker added a three-run triple in the top of the fourth to make it 4-0.
Jeff Nadeau started for the Wingnuts and took a no-decision. Nadeau allowed four earned runs on five hits in five and one-third. Nadeau walked seven and struck out none.
Gulbransen also took a no-decision, allowing four earned runs on five hits in five and one-third. Gulbransen walked one and struck out three.
Ziegler extended his hitting streak to nine games. Khoury had a nine-game streak come to an end. Porter, Ziegler, Peralta, and Stanley each had two hits in the win.
The Wingnuts open a five-game series against the El Paso Diablos, beginning with a double header on Monday evening at 5:05 p.m. Josh Lowey is scheduled to pitch the opener. 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