Lincoln Saltdogs’ starting pitcher Marquis Fleming no-hit the Wichita Winnguts through the first 5.2 innings of his start on Sunday evening at Haymarket Park, while his teammate Brian Joynt drove in two runs to provide the only offense necessary in a 2-0 Saltdogs’ victory.
The Saltdogs (20-22) didn’t wait long to score the first run of the game, as they got to Jason Van Skike (4-2) in the very first inning. Matt Forgatch started the game with a double and moved to third on a single by Jeremy Hamilton immediately afterward. Joynt did enough to score the first run of the game by lifting a fly ball to deep center field that was plenty long to bring in Forgatch and make it 1-0.
Van Skike settled in for the next three innings and was cruising until he allowed three hits in the Lincoln fifth. Tyler Smith started the inning with a one out single. Forgatch followed with an infield single deep into the hole at short before Van Skike walked Jeremy Hamilton to load the bases. Unfortunately the next man to step in was the Saltdogs’ right fielder and Joynt came through again. This time he found a hole in the left side and lined a ball right through it to push the lead to 2-0. Van Skike rebounded to strand the bases loaded and hold the deficit at two.
Fleming (4-3), who entered the game with a .500 record, but an ERA under three, was tough on the Wingnuts’ lineup throughout his 6.0 inning outing. He did not allow a hit and had struck out five Wichita batters before the sixth inning began. In that frame, Jake Kahaulelio managed the first hit against him, a two-out single up the middle before Brent Clevlen followed with one of his own. Chris McMurray hit a fly ball to left field that ended the inning with no further damage done and brought an end to Fleming’s day. The right-hander threw 6.0 shutout innings and gave up just the two hits, while adding six strikeouts.
Reliever Jhonny Montoya came on in relief of Fleming to work both the seventh and eighth innings. After retiring the side in order in the first of his innings, he struggled a bit more in the latter. Chris McClendon reached with a leadoff single, before being retired on a fielder’s choice groundout by Ryan Khoury. Carlo Testa bounced a single through the left side to put two on base with just one out for the middle of the order. However, Montoya rebounded to strike out Kahaulelio and then get Clevlen to pop out in foul territory to escape the inning with the score still 2-0.
The American Association’s saves leader, Marshall Schuler, came on to try and close the game out and did so in one, two, three fashion to seal the win.
Matt Forgatch of the Saltdogs was the only player in the game to record more than one hit as he finished 3-4 with double and a run scored. Daniel Bennett and Patrick Mincey each worked a scoreless inning after Van Skike departed. The starter tossed 6.0 innings and allowed seven hits and two runs, while fanning four.
The Wingnuts (28-16) will return home to face the Amarillo Sox for the first of a three-game series on Monday night at 7:05 p.m. RHP Jon Link (4-2) will start for Wichita and the Sox pitcher is to be announced. The game can be heard on 92.7 KWME or by heading to wichitawingnuts.com and clicking the “Listen Live” link. For information on 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.