The Wichita Wingnuts took the opening game of the 2014 American Association championship series, but it did not come easy. Wichita survived a seven-run eighth inning by the Lincoln Saltdogs and went on to win game one, 11-7.
Wingnuts starting pitcher Tim Brown (pictured) was phenomenal over seven shutout innings. The right-hander only allowed three hits, walked one and struck out three. After Brown left, however, the Saltdogs mounted a comeback.
Lincoln trailed 10-0 heading into the bottom of the eighth, but scored seven runs against the Wichita bullpen. The Saltdogs’ rally, which included a grand slam by Chad Mozingo, cut the Wingnuts’ lead to 10-7.
Wichita managed to hang on thanks to an insurance run in the top of the ninth and a solid inning of relief by Chase Johnson in the bottom half of the ninth. Carlo Testa provided the insurance with an RBI single to score David Amberson. Johnson then worked a perfect bottom of the ninth to seal the victory.
Brown earned the win in game one. Lincoln starter Marquis Fleming took the loss with nine runs allowed over 5.2 innings. Fleming walked seven men and gave up seven hits.
David Espinosa led the offensive charge for Wichita with five RBI on just one hit. Espinosa produced a sacrifice fly to score Ryan Khoury in the first and then bunted home Jake Luce on a squeeze play in the third. The Wingnuts’ three-hitter capped his performance with a three-run home run in the sixth.
The Wingnuts hold a 1-0 series lead over Lincoln. Game two is scheduled for Thursday, September 11 at Lincoln’s Haymarket Park. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m.