Photo Credit: Jancy Ireland Photography
ST. PAUL, MN- The Wichita Wingnuts (58-41) defeated the St. Paul Saints (52-47) 6-3 at Midway Stadium on Sunday night.
The Wingnuts used 18 hits to support Derek Blacksher who became a 10-game winner for the third time in his career. Tied at 3-3 in the top of the fifth, the Wingnuts scored twice to take the lead for good. With John Rodriguez on first and two outs, David Peralta ripped a double down the right field line. Rodriguez went to third and then scored when Miles Durham bobbled the ball. Jessie Mier followed with an RBI single through the left side that made it 5-3.
Blacksher turned in another strong start, allowing three earned runs on seven hits in six and two-thirds. Blacksher walked two, struck out four, and was working on three days of rest. Blacksher went 4-1 over his final six starts of the regular season.
Nick Walters and Jared Simon combined for one and one-third scoreless over the seventh and eighth innings. The duo appeared for the 57th time this season and clinched the American Association single-season record.
Jake Kahaulelio slugged a solo home run to left field leading off the top of the ninth for the Wingnuts' final run.
Josh Dew struck out two batters during a scoreless bottom of the ninth to earn his ninth save.
With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the second, Jake Krause singled on a soft line drive to left to score Ronnie Bourquin with the game's first run. Blacksher limited the Saints to the lone tally when Alex Garabedian grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Wichita tied the game in the top of the third on a two-out, RBI single to right from Greg Porter.
In the top of the fourth, RBI singles from Steve Stanley and Ryan Khoury helped the Wingnuts take a 3-1 lead.
A Joseph Spiers sacrifice fly and a Jake Krause RBI groundout in the bottom of the fourth tied the game for the Saints.
Kyle Ruwe started and took the loss for the Saints, allowing five runs, four earned, on 14 hits in seven innings. Ruwe walked one and struck out one.
With their 58th win, the Wingnuts tied a franchise record set in 2009. Rodriguez and Peralta each finished with four base hits. Kahaulelio raised his average to .372 and takes a 14-point lead over Grand Prairie's Brian Myrow for the league's batting crown into the final day of the regular season.
The series concludes Monday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. Anthony Capra makes the start for the Wingnuts. All the action can be heard locally on Oldies 92.7 KWME and worldwide at www.pressboxproductionsradio.com
The Wingnuts begin postseason play Wednesday night against the Laredo Lemurs at Uni-Trade Stadium.
Wichita will host Game Three, and the "if necessary" Games Four and Five of the Division Series next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. For information on playoff tickets, call the Wingnuts' office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com