06/27/2016 10:16 PM
WICHITA, Kansas - The AirHogs outhit the Wingnuts 9-8 but fell in Game 1 in Wichita by a final of 5-4 Monday evening. Cody Lenahan went deep for the 1st time this season in the series-opening loss.
Griffin Russell got the ball to start for the AirHogs. The lefty hit Christian Stringer, the first man he faced, and then allowed an RBI double to Zack Cox that put Wichita up 1-0 in the top of the 1st. But Russell settled down nicely, retiring 11 of the next 12 he faced following the RBI double.
In the meantime, his offense tied the game. Cody Lenahan led off the top of the 3rd vs. Wichita starter Ryan Kussmaul with a home run to left center.
The AirHogs seized the advantage in the top half of the 5th. A single by Michael Hur and walks by Juan Sanchez and Burt Reynolds loaded the bases with 2 outs. Devon Rodriguez then delivered with a 2-RBI ground rule double to make it 3-1.
Rodriguez finished 3 for 4 with 2 doubles and 2 RBIs. He has reached base 3 times in 6 straight games and has hit safely in 15 of the last 16 contests.
But the Wingnuts quickly rebounded with a 4-run, 4-hit bottom of the 5th that featured an AirHogs error, an RBI double by Stringer and a key 2-RBI single from Martin Medina vs. Russell.
Trailing 5-3, the AirHogs got 1 back on an RBI single from new 3rd baseman Leon Byrd in the top of the 6th that scored Mike Miller. But the team was unable to draw closer. Relievers Fabian Roman, Chad Nading and Frankie Reed combined to hold the team scoreless in the 7th through the 9th to seal the win.
Chase Johnson, who stranded 2 AirHogs in scoring position in the 5th before surrendering the RBI base hit to Byrd in the 6th, picked up the W to improve to 1-0. Russell (1-4) absorbed the loss. Reed picked up his 8th save.
The Wingnuts (21-15) and the AirHogs (16-21) meet again tomorrow. Start time is slated for 7:05 pm. RHP Sam Martin (2-1, 4.78) is expected to start for the AirHogs. RHP Tim Brown (3-2, 6.12) is expected to start for the Wingnuts.
A live radio broadcast will be available at mixlr.com/TXAirHogs.