Kain's four hits not enough to save Wingnuts in opener


Harrison Kain went 4-for-4 but it was not enough for the Wichita Wingnuts as they dropped their 2016 opener to the Lincoln Saltdogs 6-1 Thursday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

After each starting pitcher retired the side in order in the first, Lincoln (1-0) opened the scoring in the second. Three singles loaded the bases with one out for Pat McKenna who lined a single to center field. The ball went past Wichita’s center fielder Kain, clearing the bases on the play and putting the visitors in front 4-0.

The Saltdogs were at it again in the next frame, adding to their tally when back-to-back two-out knocks, the second of which was an RBI double by Jon Smith, put the Wingnuts (0-1) and starter Jon Link (0-1) in a 5-0 hole.

Lincoln starter Shairon Martis (1-0) retired the first six he faced on the evening, but started to run into trouble after that. He escaped without allowing a run in the third, but surrendered the Wingnuts lone tally of the night in the fourth when Kain picked up the second of his four singles to score Brent Clevlen.

Wichita’s offense had several opportunities to close the gap and banged out 10 hits on the night, but struggled to come up with run-scoring knocks and ended up leaving 11 on base for the contest.

In relief of Link who went the first six innings, Wichita saw two strong debuts from relievers. Jesse Pratt made his professional debut and struck out two in two scoreless frames, including a strikeout of the first hitter he faced in his pro career. Carson Goldsmith, who was signed earlier Thursday, then came on to post a zero in the ninth.

The Wingnuts and Saltdogs continue their season-opening four-game set Friday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Lefty Anthony Capra will make his season debut for Wichita, while right-hander Matt Larkins will get the starting nod for Lincoln. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m