WICHITA, Kan. -- The Wichita Wingnuts matched their longest winning streak of the season at six games, with a 1-0 shutout victory over the Sioux Falls Canaries on Wednesday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Jason Van Skike’s pitching, the back-end of the bullpen, and an opportunistic infield single by Trevor Whyte, were the deciding factors as the Wingnuts swept their second consecutive series and fourth of the year.
Van Skike (6-2) retired the first eight batters he faced, until the Canaries (20-32) registered two hits against him with two outs in the third inning. Sioux Falls had their best opportunity to score in that frame, but could not, as Whyte made a fantastic diving grab on a line drive that appeared destined for right field with runners on the corners.
Kyle Vasquez (4-4), the starting pitcher opposite Van Skike, was equal to the gauntlet thrown down by the Wingnuts’ hurler. Through six innings, he had allowed only one runner to reach third base and got out of that jam without any damage.
In the seventh inning, the Wingnuts’ offense finally broke through against the right-hander. Brent Clevlen led off with a walk and quickly stole second base to move into scoring position. After a strikeout by Carlo Testa, Chris McMurray popped a shallow single into right field that advanced Clevlen over to third. With runners on the corners, Taylor Oldham struck out, bringing Whyte to the dish in a big moment. The first baseman pounded a high bouncer to the right of the second base bag. Sam Lind was camped under the high hopper and fielded it while the shortstop Stephen Branca came charging across his face. As Lin stepped to throw the pair became entangled and the throw to first was soft and low, which allowed Whyte to beat it by a hair. The play brought Clevlen home and gave Wichita (36-17) a 1-0 lead.
That run allowed Van Skike to exit the game in line for the win. He went 7.0 shutout innings and gave up only two hits with four strikeouts. He departed having retired the final 13 batters he faced. Vasquez left after the seventh inning as well, having allowed just the one run on five hits and seven strikeouts.
Alex Hinshaw and Matt Nevarez combined to continue the dominating pitching performance that was put in motion by their starter. Hinshaw, the left-hander, worked a one, two, three, eighth inning with two strikeouts. Nevarez retired the first two batters in the ninth, prior to a single by Brandon Jones that ended a streak of 18 consecutive Canaries being put out. The closer rebounded to strike out A.J. Kirby-Jones for his 15th save of the season.
Wichita will take Thursday off before welcoming the Amarillo Sox to town for a weekend series. RHP Jon Link (6-2) will take the bump for the Wingnuts in game one which begins Friday at 7:05 p.m. As is the case with every Friday home game, there will be a post-game fireworks show. 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