AMARILLO, TX (July 5, 2015) – With a big nine-game homestand looming in the near future, the Wichita Wingnuts were hoping to end their two-city road trip with some momentum. The team jumped out to a 6-0 first inning lead and scored a crooked number in four different innings to roll over the Amarillo Thunderheads 16-7. T.J. Mittelstaedt went 3-4 with two home runs, six RBI, and four runs scored to fuel the offense and help the Wingnuts take two of the three games in Texas.
Wichita (22-19) was able to chase Amarillo starting pitcher Ryan Bonnot before he even recorded an out in the first inning. The left-hander walked the first two batters of the game and then gave up a two-RBI double to Joash Brodin that opened the scoring. Matt Padgett followed by drawing a free pass and then John Nester also drove in a run with a single. That signaled the end for Bonnot (1-1) who was replaced by fellow lefty Austin Kirk. Two more runs scored in the inning courtesy of Brent Dean’s fielder’s choice grounder and an RBI double by Luis Hernandez. By the time the Thunderheads had recorded the third out the lead was already 6-0.
Three more runs would cross home plate in the Wingnuts’ second turn at bat. David Espinosa ripped a double into the corner which was followed immediately by Mittelstaedt’s first home run, a two-run blast. Before the inning was over Padgett tacked on his first RBI of the game with a two-bagger of his own to increase the lead to 9-0.
The Thunderheads (20-23) got on the board with two runs off of Omar Bencomo in the bottom of the second. The runs were plated on back-to-back doubles by Rene Leveret and Geraldo Valentin. The Wingnuts quickly responded in the top of the third to push the lead back to seven at 10-3 after a Mittelstaedt sacrifice fly scored Leo Vargas. Vargas has played in six games and scored at least one run in each of them.
Amarillo pulled as close as they would get in the sixth inning by scoring four runs and chasing Bencomo (4-1) from the contest. Jason Martin led off with a double and then moved to third after tagging up on Juan Martinez’s fly ball to right field. Martin scored on a wild pitch during an at bat that ended in a walk of Stefan Gartrell. Leveret and Valentin each followed with base hits while another wild pitch brought home a second run. With two outs, Jordan Guida flared a single into shallow right that scored two more and cut the Wingnuts’ lead to 10-6.
Wichita came back with a four run top of the eighth that blew the game open. Leo Vargas reached on an error with one out and moved to second when Espinosa was hit by a pitch. The next three hitters: Mittelstaedt, Brodin, and Padgett, each drove in runs with hits to extend the margin to 13-6. The final run of the inning was provided when Dean singled in a teammate with two outs.
Amarillo scored their final run in the home half of the eighth when Gartrell doubled home Martinez to make the score 14-7. Mittelstaedt put the final nail in the coffin with his second long ball of the afternoon, another two run shot to left center that followed a hustle double from Vargas in the ninth.
Six members of the Wingnuts drove in at least one run, five of them posted more than one hit, and four scored three runs or more. Mittelstaedt’s RBI total was the most in a single game since Brent Clevlen drove in the same number in August of 2014.
The Wingnuts will return to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Monday for the first of nine straight home games. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. with RHP Tim Brown on the mound. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts’ main of