SPRINGDALE, AR. (KSNW) – The Wind Surge rallied scoring seven unanswered in the late innings to defeat Northwest Arkansas 11-10 in a shootout. The Surge earned a series split with the victory today and sit in first place by two games over the second-place Arkansas Travelers.
The Surge gave starter Chris Vallimont some run support early on, plating four runs over firs two frames. Roy Morales continued his hot hitting over the road trip with an RBI single in the top of the first. After Jermaine Palacios drew a walk, Palacios stole second base to set himself in scoring position. Morales came through and knocked in Palacios with a fly ball to left center to give Wichita the early lead.
Wichita added three more runs to the advantage with one swing of the bat in the top of the second. With two outs in the inning, Leobaldo Cabrera started the rally with a single to left field. Aaron Whitefield followed up Cabrera by drawing a four-pitch walk to put two on for Caleb Hamilton. Hamilton brought everyone home with a deep blast to left field for his sixth home run of the season and increased the Wichita margin to four runs.
Northwest Arkansas would not go away as they have done all series as they tied the game at four in the next two innings. With two runs off a Clay Dungan RBI triple and an MJ Melendez sacrifice fly in the third, and two runs off a Brewer Hicklen two-run home run in the fourth wiped away the four-run lead for Wichita. The Naturals took the lead in a big way by putting up five runs in the fifth. Blake Perkins’ grand slam was responsible for four of the five runs that inning.
Wichita responded back by bringing the game to within one run in the top of the seventh. The Surge showed patience at the plate as they drew two walks with the bases loaded, one by Leobaldo Cabrera and the other by Caleb Hamilton with two outs in the inning. BJ Boyd followed Hamilton by bringing Cabrera and D.J. Burt home with a line drive to the left center field gap. The four runs in the frame cut the Naturals’ lead down to 9-8.
The Surge completed the comeback in the eighth inning with three runs in the frame. With Bechtold on second and Morales on third, D.J. Burt brought both of them home with a sharp line drive double down the right field line to eliminate the five-run Natural lead. Aaron Whitefield added a much-needed insurance run in the next at-bat with a RBI line drive to left field, scoring Burt from second and putting Wichita ahead 11-9. The Naturals still fought back and scored a run in the eighth, but Jhonleider Salinas shut the door in the ninth to seal a series finale victory.
Chris Vallimont went 4.1 innings in his 13th start of the year. Vallimont allowed six runs on five hits and struck out six. Sean Gilmartin threw 2.0 innings of scoreless relief. Gilmartin gave up just one hit and recorded three strikeouts. Jhonleider Salinas picked up his first save of the year with a scoreless ninth inning and grounding Emmanuel Rivera into a game-ending double play.
NOTES: Wichita activated Hector Lujan from injured list and placed P Joe Kuzia on development roster. The Surge will add SS/OF Austin Martin acquired in trade with Toronto on Tuesday. Wind Surge hitters drew a season high 12 walks. Surge wrap up the road trip winning seven of 12.
COMING UP: Wichita returns home on Tuesday to start a six-game series against the Midland RockHounds, double-a affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. Wichita will start RHP Cole Sands (1-0, 2.72 ERA) for the first game on Tuesday night with a 7:05 pm first pitch. The Wind Surge and RockHounds met back in late June for six games in Midland, TX. The Surge took 5 out of 6 during their 12 game trip in Texas.