AMARILLO, TX- The Wichita Wingnuts lost 8-7 to the Amarillo Sox at Amarillo National Bank Sox Stadium on Sunday evening.
Trailing 7-4 in the bottom of the ninth, a single and two walks loaded the bases with one out for the Sox. Chris Nash hit a bloop single to left that made it 7-5. Tim Alberts followed with a game-ending three-run double to right-center field off of Cephas Howard that prevented the Wingnuts from completing a four-game sweep to start the season.
The Wingnuts started quick on Sunday, scoring three runs on four hits in the top of the first. Josh Horn reached base in the game's first plate appearance for a fourth straight night, lining a single to left field. Ryan Patterson doubled into the left field corner to score Horn and give Wichita a 1-0 lead. After Patterson moved to third on Jorge Cortes' groundout to first, Juan Richardson scorched a base hit past third baseman Adam De La Garza to make it 2-0. Two batters later, Josh Workman tripled to the right-center field wall to score Richardson from first.
Amarillo took the lead with a four-run fourth. With the bases loaded and one out, Fehlandt Lentini hit into a force play at second that scored Tim Alberts' with the Sox' first run. Matthew Tucker walked to re-load the bases, and then Cyle Hankerd doulbed off the bottom of the fence in right field to clear the bases and make it 4-3.
The Wingnuts re-gained the lead in the top of the seventh. Horn singled off the glove of first baseman Chris Nash to start the rally and immediately scored on Patterson's hit and run triple down the left field line. Jorge Cortes drove in Patterson with the lead run, hitting a sacrifice fly to center field.
Thomas Fitzgerald's two-out, RBI single in the top of the eighth gave Wichita a 6-4 lead.
Richardson drove in the Wingnuts' seventh run with an RBI single that plated Patterson in the ninth. Patterson led off the inning with a triple to center field.
Howard took the loss, allowing four earned runs in 0.2 IP.
Brandon Mathes worked 2.2 outstanding relief innings, allowing no runs and striking out three. Junior Guerra started for the Wingnuts and allowed four earned runs in five innings with four strikeouts in a no-decision.
Lee Henry earned the win in relief for the Sox, pitching the top of the ninth.
The Wingnuts now travel to Fort Worth to open a three-game series against the Cats. Lefty Ryan Hinson takes the mound on Monday at 7:05 p.m. All the action can be heard locally on Oldies 93.5 KWME and worldwide at www.kleyam.com
The Wingnuts open the 2011 season on May 12th at Amarillo. Wichita's 2011 home opener is Friday, May 20th versus the El Paso Diablos. For tickets, call the Wingnuts' office at (316) 264-NUTS or by visiting the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com