LINCOLN, Nebraska – The Wichita Wingnuts (64-31) beat the Lincoln Saltdogs (48-47) 10-2 at Haymarket Park on Wednesday afternoon.
John Rodriguez hit a pair of home runs and finished with four RBI to lead the Wingnuts’ offense.
With two outs and no one on base in the top of the first, Rodriguez singled up the middle and went to second when C.J. Ziegler walked. Brent Clevlen followed with a line drive single to left that scored Rodriguez with the game’s first run.
Jake Kahaulelio lined a one-out, solo home run to left-center in the top of the third to make it 2-0 in favor of Wichita.
In the top of the sixth, Clevlen singled to right with one out. Two batters later, Clevlen took second on a wild pitch and scored the Wingnuts’ third run on a single to shallow left from Madison Beaird.
Lincoln scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to pull within one. Matt Forgatch singled to center with the bases loaded and one out to get the Saltdogs on the board. Clevlen helped stabilize the inning with a running catch on Bryan Pounds’ flyball to deep center field that resulted in a sacrifice fly.
With two outs and no one on base in the top of the seventh, Rodriguez hit the first of his two home runs. The line drive over the right-center field fence extended the lead to 4-2.
Wichita broke the game open with a six-run top of the eighth. RBI hits from Johnny Bowden, David Amberson, and Kahaulelio made it 7-2. Rodriguez followed Kahaulelio with a three-run shot that just cleared the left field wall.
Wingnuts’ starter James Giulietti earned the win, allowing two earned runs on six hits in five and two-thirds innings. Giulietti walked four and struck out three.
Nick Walters, Lincoln Holdzkom, Justin Klipp, and Erik Lambe combined for three and one-third shutout relief frames.
Saltdogs’ starter Stephen Bougher took the loss, allowing three earned runs on eight hits over six. Bougher walked one and struck out seven.
Walters’ appearance was his 105th in a Wingnuts’ uniform over the last two seasons which breaks Jared Simon’s (2011-12) franchise record of 104. Rodriguez, Clevlen, and Amberson each had three hits in the win.
Game three of the four-game series is Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. Junior Guerra is scheduled to make his final regular season start for the Wingnuts. Right-haner Mike Burns goes for Lincoln.
The Wingnuts return home on Saturday, August 31st for their final regular season home series against the Kansas City T-Bones.