Wichita, Kan.—The Wichita Wingnuts (28-14) won their fifth game in a row on Saturday night, beating the Sioux City Explorers (17-24) 8-7 in front of 5,028 fans at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
For a second straight night, the Wingnuts scored four times in the bottom of the first to erase an early 1-0 deficit. Jake Kahaulelio drew a one-out walk and took second on John Rodriguez's groundout. C.J. Ziegler reached on an infield single that moved Kahaulelio to third base. With Brent Clevlen at the plate, Explorers' starter Richard Salazar threw a wild pitch that brought in Kahaulelio with the tying run. After Clevlen walked, Abel Nieves struck a ground rule double over the right-center field fence to score Ziegler and give the Wingnuts a 2-1 lead. Cole Armstrong capped the rally with a line drive single to right field that scored Clevlen and Nieves.
Ziegler doubled into the left field corner with two outs in the bottom of the second to score Ryan Khoury from first base to make it 5-1.
Sioux City scored twice in the top of the fourth to pull within two runs. Peter Barrows reached third base on a leadoff error and scored on Yusuke Inoguchi's RBI double down the left field line. Inoguchi took third on a sacrifice bunt from Alberto Espinosa and scored on a groundball to third from Adrian Martinez.
The Wingnuts responded in the bottom of the fourth with three more two-out runs. With two outs and no one on base, Rodriguez and Ziegler hit back-to-back singles. Clevlen then muscled a single to left-center that drove in Rodriguez with the Wingnuts' sixth run. Nieves made it 8-3 with a two-run double down the right field line.
Sioux City scored four runs in the top of the eighth to make it a one-run game. Espinosa hit a two-out, three-run double to left field that cut the lead to 8-6. Martinez followed with a double down the left field line before Andrew Aizenstadt struck out Brian Bistagne to strand the tying run in scoring position.
Josh Dew threw a perfect top of the ninth on six pitches to lock down his eighth save of the year.
Chris Smith started for the Wingnuts and did not allow an earned run over seven innings to pick up the win. Smith scattered four hits, walked two, and struck out seven. Smith twice struck out the side.
Salazar took the loss for Sioux City, allowing eight earned runs on 11 hits in five innings. Salazar walked four and struck out eight.
Sam Judah singled home Anthony Kaskadden in the top of the first to give Sioux City a quick 1-0 lead.
Eight different Wingnuts had at least one hit, while all nine starters reached base at least once. Ziegler finished with three hits. The five-game winning streak ties the longest for the Wingnuts this season.