Photo Credit: Jancy Ireland Photography
WICHITA, KS- The Wichita Wingnuts defeated the Laredo Lemurs 8-2 in Game Three of the American Association Division Series at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Friday night.
The Wingnuts sweep the best-of-five series 3-0, and advance to the American Association Championship Series against the Winnipeg Goldeyes beginning Tuesday night at Shaw Park. It is the Wingnuts' first postseason series win in franchise history.
Wichita scored four runs in the bottom of the third to overcome an early 1-0 deficit. Steve Stanley drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a single to center from Ryan Khoury. Jake Kahaulelio followed with a soft groundball to third base. On the play, Khoury beat John Allen's force attempt at second while Kahaulelio beat Anthony Scelfo's return throw to first. With the bases loaded and no outs, John Rodriguez drove in the tying run with a groundball to first base. Javier Brito gloved Rodriguez’ grounder and threw home for a force attempt, but Stanley slid in just safe with the tying run. C.J. Ziegler drew a bases loaded walk to give Wichita a 2-1 lead. Two batters later, David Peralta grounded a single through the right side that scored Kahaulelio and Rodriguez to make it 4-1.
After working out of a first-inning jam, Derek Blacksher took control of the game through the middle innings, including a stretch of nine batters retired in a row. Blacksher allowed two earned runs on seven hits to earn the win, and retired the leadoff hitter in each inning from the second through the seventh. Blacksher walked just one while striking out seven.
Stephen Douglas hit a two-out, solo home run down the right field line in the top of the seventh to pull the Lemurs within two. In the bottom half, Greg Porter singled to right with two outs. David Peralta followed with a line drive, two-run homer to right that extended Wichita's lead to 6-2.
James Baker and Nick Walters combined for a scoreless top of the eighth inning.
The Wingnuts added two more runs in the bottom of the eighth. Mike Conroy singled through the right side leading off, stole second base, and advanced to third on a bunt single from Stanley. Khoury bounced a hit-and-run single to right that plated Conroy and sent Stanley to third. Stanley scored the Wingnuts' eighth run on a sacrifice fly to left from Kahaulelio.
Walters recorded the final three outs in the top of the ninth, with Douglas popping out to Kahaulelio at second base to end the game.
Douglas led off the night with a single to center, went to third on a hit-and-run single from Palmer Karr Jr., and scored on John Allen’s base hit to center field. The Lemurs went on to load the bases with one out, but Blacksher struck out Steve Pearson and retired Brian Peterson on a fielder's choice to limit them at one run.
Ryan Sasaki started for the Lemurs and took the loss, allowing four earned runs on two hits in two and one-third innings. Sasaki walked four and struck out one.
The Wingnuts out-homered the Lemurs 8-1 in the series. Wichita had at least one runner on base in 24 of their 26 team at bats over the three games. Wichita's starting pitchers combined to allow three earned runs in 20.2 innings. Walters appeared in all three games, and did not allow a run.
Game One of the American Association Championship Series is Tuesday night. First pitch at Shaw Park is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Josh Lowey will be on the mound for Wichita. All the action can be heard locally on Oldies 92.7 KWME and worldwide at www.pressboxproductionsradio.com
The Wingnuts host Game Three of the Championship Series on Friday, September 14th at 7:05 p.m. Wichita will also host the "if necessary" Games Four and Five on Saturday and Sunday respectively. 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