Wichita 5, Laredo 4 – Box
For the third consecutive season, the Wichita Wingnuts are headed back to the American Association championship series. Wichita knocked off the Laredo Lemurs in four games with a 5-4 victory in the semifinals series-clincher.
The third and fourth innings were particularly kind to the Wingnuts. Wichita scored a pair of runs in both frames and both innings began with leadoff home runs. Jake Luce started the third inning by drilling a homer to tie the game at 1-1. The Wingnuts took the lead shortly thereafter on an RBI single by David Espinosa.
Carlo Testa repeated the feat in the fourth inning with a leadoff long ball of his own. Wichita tacked on another run later in the inning on a single by Luce and a key Lemurs error.
Brent Clevlen (pictured) gave the Wingnuts an important insurance run in the fifth with a solo home run to give Wichita a 5-2 lead, but Laredo clawed back late. The Lemurs cut Wichita’s lead to 5-4 on RBI singles by Kyle Brandenburg and Denis Phipps and had a golden chance to tie the game. With two outs and runners at the corners, however, Wichita reliever Chris Peacock came in and got Travis Denker to fly out to right to end the threat.
Laredo came dangerously close to tying the score in the ninth, but Dan Sattler shut the door to send Wichita to the championship series. With Harrison Kain on second and one out, Sattler struck out Brandenburg and got Nick Van Stratten to fly out to end the game. Sattler earned the save by holding the Lemurs scoreless in the ninth.
Starting pitcher Celson Polanco picked up the win. He allowed four runs on nine hits over 6.2 innings. The righty struck out four and did not walk a man.
The Lincoln Saltdogs are alive and have forced a fifth and deciding game in the American Association semifinals against the Winnipeg Goldeyes. Lincoln defeated Winnipeg 9-2 in game four to tie the series at 2-2.
The Saltdogs’ offense was on fire early and grabbed a 6-0 lead by the end of the third inning. Lincoln opened the scoring in the second inning when Winnipeg starting pitcher Matthew Jackson balked home Brandon Pinckney from third. After the Saltdogs scored another run in the second on a sacrifice fly by Mike Gilmartin, Lincoln tacked on four more runs in the third.
Lincoln had big days from a few of its hitters. Two different Saltdogs recorded multi-RBI games and four Lincoln batters tallied multiple hits. Matt Forgatch and Jeremy Hamilton tied for the team-lead with three hits, while Gilmartin led the team with RBI off the strength of just one hit.
Nick Green gave the Saltdogs a quality start on the mound and picked up the win. The right-hander only allowed one run over seven innings. He struck out three, walked one and allowed 11 hits.
Jackson took the loss for Winnipeg. The starter gave up six runs over 2.2 innings. He allowed eight hits, walked two and struck out two.