The Wichita Wingnuts are just one win away from their first American Association title. Thanks in part to a six-run first inning, Wichita marched to a 9-2 win over the Lincoln Saltdogs in game two and the Wingnuts now hold a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five championship series.
Wichita’s offense stepped on the gas pedal early. The Wingnuts pushed across an early run in the first on three consecutive singles, then Brent Clevlen (pictured) delivered a big blow. Clevlen hammered a three-run home run to put Wichita on top, 4-0. Two batters later, Chris McMurray delivered a two-run shot of his own to extend the advantage to 6-0.
The Wingnuts scratched across three more runs in the next two frames, but it was the pitching that ultimately sealed the win. Starting pitcher Anthony Capra pitched five innings and allowed just two runs before handing things off to the bullpen. After Capra, four Wichita relievers combined to shutout and two-hit over the game’s final four innings.
Chris Peacock, Michael Zouzalik, Chase Johnson and Dan Sattler each pitched one inning of scoreless relief. Johnson, who pitched the eighth, was the only of the four hurlers to allow a baserunner, as he surrendered two hits and walked one. Sattler struck out the side in a perfect ninth to finish off game two for Wichita and seal the win for Capra.
Lincoln starter Kevin McGovern took the loss. The left-hander only recorded one out in the first inning, but was responsible for all six runs on six hits.
Clevlen led the Wingnuts’ offense in production. In addition to his three-run shot, the center fielder drove a run home in the second inning on an RBI ground out. He finished 2-for-4 with a team-best four RBI.
Chris McClendon had the most consistent day at the plate. He was 4-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.
After a day off on Friday, the Wingnuts and Saltdogs will return to action on Saturday. Game three of the championship series will be played in Wichita, beginning at 7:00 p.m. local time.