Canaries Lose Heartbreaker in Wichita
By Aaron Rosenberg
WICHITA, KS - In perhaps their most gut-wrenching loss of the season, the Canaries (20-32) fell 8-7 to the Wichita Wingnuts (35-17) Tuesday night in walkoff fashion. In a game hat the Canaries led nearly the entire way, it was a few costly miscues and a blown call on the field that ended up being the difference.
Kyle Ruwe turned in a fifth straight strong start, going 6.2 innings and allowing just three earned runs, although had the initial scoring of a play in the 4th inning held, the righthander would have allowed only one earned run. The righthander did not factor in the decision and allowed eight hits, while striking out five and walking two.
The Birds got on the board first for the second straight night when Chris Duffy singled in Steve Tinoco in the 1st. Ruwe kept the Wingnuts scoreless over the first three frames and the score didn't change until the 4th when the first defensive lapse led to two Wichita runs. With two outs, Brent Clevlen reached on a groundball to short that was initially ruled an error, but later changed to an infield single. After Carlo Testa singled, Chris McMurray doubled them both home and Wichita held a 2-1 lead. Replays showed that McMurray's hit was clearly a foul ball, but the call stood.
The Canaries answered right back with two runs of their own in each of the 5th and 6th innings to build a 5-2 lead. Matt Hitt and Tinoco each drove in a run in the 5th, while Chris Valencia drove in two with his base hit in the 6th.
Ruwe very nearly escaped the 7th with no runs, but with two outs, catcher Matt Hitt slipped as he threw a ball to first. That allowed the inning to be extended and Joe Testa came in with two outs and two runners on with the Canaries clinging to a 5-3 lead. Testa's first batter, Chris McClendon singled in both runners to tie the game and cost Ruwe a chance at his fourth straight win.
Hitt atoned for his error by doubling in two runs in the 8th and putting the Canaries back on top 7-5, but the lead wouldn't last. Clevlen led off the bottom half of the inning with a solo homerun off Testa to bring Wichita within one, and in the 9th, Jake Kahaulelio and Clevlen produced back-to-back hits off Canaries closer Alan DeRatt that tied and won the game.
Clevlen finished with four hits including his sixth homerun of the season and second in as many nights. Valencia led the Birds with three hits while Brandon Jone and Hitt had two apiece.
DeRatt dropped to 0-4 with the loss, while Matt Nevarez threw a scoreless 9th to improve to 2-0 for Wichita.
The series finale will be at 7:05 PM Wednesday night. Pregame coverage will begin at 6:45 on AM 1230 and FM 98.1 KWSN.