The Wichita Wingnuts (45-22) beat the Grand Prairie AirHogs (35-30) 4-3 at QuikTrip Park on Saturday night.
Down to their final four outs of the game, the Wingnuts rallied for two runs in the top of the eighth inning to retake the lead. With no one on base, C.J. Ziegler drew a four-pitch walk against AirHogs' reliever David Quinowski. Brent Clevlen followed with a triple to left-center field that scored Ziegler with the tying run. Abel Nieves put Wichita in front with a sharp, groundball single to center field.
Lincoln Holdzkom struck out the side during a scoreless bottom of the eighth to preserve the lead.
Josh Dew worked a perfect bottom of the ninth to lock down his 15th save of the year.
Grand Prairie rallied for three two outs runs of their own in the bottom of the seventh before the Wingnuts went back in front. With the Wingnuts leading 2-0, Palmer Karr Jr. drew a two-out walk with no one on base. Karr scored on Austin Newell's pinch-hit double down the left field line. After Bubba Dotson was hit by a pitch, Angel Flores tied the score at 2-2 with a single through the left side. Rian Kiniry followed with a line drive single down the right field line that scored Dotson with the lead run. On the same play, Wichita retired the side when Ziegler threw Flores out at the plate during a rundown.
Wichita scored the first run of the game in the top of the fourth inning. Clevlen and Nieves drew back-to-back walks with one out and then executed a double steal of second and third. Cole Armstrong brought in Clevlen with a groundball to third base.
Jake Kahaulelio tripled to left-center with two outs in the top of the fifth. John Rodriguez followed with an RBI single up the middle that made it 2-0.
Nick Walters earned the win in relief for the Wingnuts, while Quinowski took the loss.
Chris Smith started for Wichita and took a no-decision. Smith allowed three earned runs on just four hits over six and two-thirds innings. Smith walked two and struck out four.
Gabriel Garcia started for the AirHogs and also took a no-decision. Garcia allowed two earned runs on three hits in four and two-thirds innings. Garcia walked four and struck out two.
The series concludes Sunday evening at 6:05 p.m. Justin Klipp faces former Wingnuts' right-hander Derek Blacksher. Blacksher entered 2013 as the Wingnuts' all-time leader in wins and strikeouts. Both records were broken this season by Ryan Hinson. All the action can be heard locally on Oldies 92.7 KWME and worldwide at www.pressboxproductionsradio.com
The Wingnuts return home on Tuesday, August 13th when they host the Gary SouthShore RailCats. Individual tickets can be purchased by calling (316) 755-SEAT, or by visiting www.selectaseat.com
Beginning this season, fans can use cash at all points of sale in Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Debit and credit cards will still be accepted.