The Wichita Wingnuts knocked off the Laredo Lemurs in a well-pitched and defended game, that featured a few timely hits for the home team on Monday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. With the win, two positive numbers were expanded upon. The Wingnuts’ winning streak moved to four games and the team took its’ biggest lead of the year in the South Division race, advancing their cushion to 11 games.
The Wingnuts (44-18) jumped on top 2-0 in their first at bat against Mike Shreves, who they were facing for the fourth time this season. Ryan Khoury took the right-hander deep to left center to start the bottom of the first inning with a bang. The long ball was the shortstop’s eighth of the year, putting him just three home runs behind his career-high which came back in 2007. After Shreves (3-2) retired the next hitter, Wichita reeled off four consecutive singles to score another run. With Jake Kahaulelio, Brent Clevlen, and Carlo Testa on base already, Chris McMurray lined a base knock to right that scored Kahaulelio easily. Clevlen also tried to score, but was gunned down a nice throw from right fielder Denis Phipps.
The Nuts added another against Shreves in the very next inning. Taylor Oldham was drilled by a pitch, David Amberson reached on an infield single, and Khoury was put on via a base on balls to load the bases for Chris McClendon. The third baseman lined a ball to right field that was deep enough to score Oldham and make the score 3-0.
The Lemurs (32-28) would score their initial run against starting pitcher, Jon Link, in the third frame. Harrison Kain singled and moved into scoring position on a groundout by Nick Van Stratten. J.P. Ramirez came through with an RBI double down the left field line to cut the lead to 3-1.
After missing out on a bases loaded opportunity in the third, the Wingnuts used a sacrifice fly to regain a three-run lead in the fourth. With Khoury starting the inning with a double and moving to third on another deep fly out by McClendon, he was in perfect position to score when Clevlen also skied a ball to center. The run, which made the score 4-1, also was Clevlen’s 47th driven in this year.
Carlos Ramirez, the Lemurs catcher, hit a solo home run beneath the scoreboard in left field to momentarily pull the Lemurs to within 4-2 in the fifth. Another solo home run, this time by a Wingnut, stretched the lead to three once again after six. The shot came courtesy of David Amberson, who drilled a pitch from former teammate, Jack Wagoner, over the wall in left for his first home run of the season and a 5-2 advantage.
That was enough for the league-leading pitching staff. Link (8-2) worked into the seventh, allowing just two runs on nine hits, while striking out seven and walking one. It was the right-hander’s 12th quality start in 14 chances. Alex Hinshaw worked the final out of the seventh and the entire eighth inning, allowing just a single to Denker, that was immediately erased when the left fielder, Testa, threw him out trying to stretch it to extra-bases. The lefty has allowed a run in just one of his 23 appearances. Matt Nevarez took the ball in the ninth and quickly brushed off a leadoff walk to Phipps to retire the next three in order and earn his 18th save of the year.
The Wingnuts improved to 8-0 against Laredo this season with the win and they have now outscored the Lemurs 54-22. Khoury and Amberson were the only Wingnuts with multiple hits, while Kahaulelio and Clevlen each extended hitting streaks to nine games.
The same two clubs will face-off again on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. LHP Frank Del Valle will match-up with RHP Jeremy Strawn (2-0) of Laredo. The game begins at 7:05 p.m. with the pre-game show starting at 6:50 on 92.7 KWME or by choosing the “Listen Live” option on wichitawingnuts.com. 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