A monster seventh inning on offense and a quality pitching performance by Jason Van Skike (pictured) drove the Wichita Wingnuts to a 6-3 victory over the Laredo Lemurs and a 2-1 lead in the American Association semifinals series.
The Wingnuts trailed 1-0 after Travis Denker homered for Laredo in the first, but the score line quickly shifted in the seventh. Wichita pounded the Lemurs for six runs to take a commanding lead. Chris McClendon and Brent Clevlen each drove home a pair of runs, while Abel Nieves and Carlo Testa tallied one RBI apiece during the breakaway inning.
Laredo threatened to close the gap in the ninth inning when Byron Wiley hit a two-run home run, but that was all the Lemurs could muster.
Van Skike, who was 12-5 during the regular season, pitched brilliantly for seven frames and earned the win. The righty two-hit the Lemurs and allowed just one run on the Denker long ball. Van Skike did not give up a hit after the second inning and did not walk a batter all night.
Winnipeg took a 2-1 series lead over the Lincoln Saltdogs in the American Association semifinals, but it took extra innings for the Goldeyes to get the job done with a 7-6 victory.
With the game tied at 6-6 in the top of the 10th, Reggie Abercrombie got the Goldeyes’ rally started. He singled and moved up to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Donnie Webb and a balk by Lincoln reliever Trey Barham. After Josh Mazzola worked a walk to put runners on the corners, Luis Alen stepped up to the dish.
Alen did not have to do much, but he did his part. The Goldeyes’ eight-hitter lofted a sacrifice fly to right field to allow Abercrombie to score from third and put Winnipeg on top.
The Goldeyes’ bullpen took care of the rest. Chris Kissock took the ball in the bottom of the 10th and worked a perfect inning with two strikeouts to secure the win and pick up the save.
Brendan Lafferty earned the win for the Goldeyes. The lefty reliever pitched two shutout innings in the eighth and ninth. He gave up two hits and walked one, but also fanned three Saltdogs.
Barham took the loss after he gave up the winning run. The southpaw only pitched the 10th, but allowed one run on one hit and two walks.