The Garden City Wind salvaged the weekend’s crucial three-game series against the Trinidad Triggers with a 5-2 win on Sunday night.
The hosts came into the series at Clint Lightner Stadium with a half-game lead for first place in the Pecos League’s North Division over Trinidad, and will leave a half-game back after the Triggers took the first two games of the weekend set.
But the Wind (22-19) stayed tied in the loss column with the Triggers (23-19) behind Austin Boyle’s stellar starting effort Sunday. The right-hander gave up just one run in seven innings, allowing just two hits and striking out eight. He seemed to be effectively wild given his six walks, including a leadoff free pass of Caleb Baker in the fourth.
The Triggers eventually loaded the bases with no one out, but Boyle induced a double play from John Nicholson that scored a run but effectively ended the threat of a big inning. When Boyle got Anthony Puma to pop out in the next at bat, the starter ended any other chance for a run.
Meanwhile, the Wind’s offense did all of its damage in the opening frame. With just a runner on first, the Wind managed a big two-out rally to open scoring.
First, Clay Ardeeser singled to score Eric Esquilin, who reached via a single, and then Ryan Cooper doubled to plate Ardeeser. Then, Leon Stimpson and Ken Olszewski both singled, followed by a walk of Boyle, and Nick Francis drove in the final two runs of the inning on a single.
The Wind racked up seven more hits during the final eight innings, but could not scratch one more across. Boyle and relievers Connor Kelly and Chris Gammon — who recorded a two-out save — made the mark hold up anyway. None of the three gave up an extra-base hit.
Boyle picked up the win, to up his record to 6-1, while Trinidad starter Daniel Karasinski was hung with the loss after giving up those five runs in four innings of work.
In 2015, the Wind’s inaugural season, the club was 10-31 at the same mark last year. This year, they are near the top of the North Division’s standings, just behind Trinidad, and two games up on third-place Salina. The Wind and the Triggers won’t meet again until the final series of the year, when the Triggers return to Clint Lightner for a four-game set on July 25 to 28.
The Wind continue their current home stand with a 6:30 p.m. game Monday, when they host Great Bend.
Trinidad 000 100 010 — 2 4 1
Garden City 500 000 00x — 5 13 0
Karasinski, Williams(5), Hannan(7), Stonestreet(8) and Puma. Boyle, Kelly(8), Gammon(9) and Cooper. 2B—Garden City: Cooper (1).
On Saturday, the Wind blew an early three-run lead to fall 8-4 to Trinidad. The Wind knocked out Trinidad’s starter after just three innings, but they couldn’t plate another run in the final six innings against the Triggers’ bullpen.
Meanwhile, Trinidad rallied, tying the game at 4 in the fifth — on Brian Frazier’s two-run single — and then plated three more in the seventh on a trio of RBI singles. The Triggers added one more in the eighth, sealing the victory and series win.
Reliever Austin Hilton received the loss after giving up three runs in two-thirds of an inning, while Eric Brothers picked up the win for Trinidad, tossing three scoreless innings.
Joey Cecere hit his first home run of the season for the Wind in the losing effort, finishing the night 3 of 4 with three RBIs. Eric Esquilin also had a multi-hit night, going 2 of 4 with a double. Caleb Baker provided much of Trinidad’s offensive power, racking up three hits, including a pair of doubles, and scoring three runs. Brian Frazier also had three knocks, while also walking twice in his five plate appearances.
Trinidad 010 120 310 — 8 15 0
Garden City 130 000 000 — 4 10 2
Diefenbach, Brothers(4), Swartout(7), Monda(8) and Schneider. Torrey, Hilton(7), White(7), Ovalies(9) and Colon. W—Brothers. L—Hilton. Sv—Monda. 2B—Trinidad: Baker 2 (10), Frazier (13); Garden City (3). HR—Garden City: Cecere (1).