Naturals Take Series Before Record Crowd
The Naturals defeated the Wichita Wind Surge, 5-1, on Saturday, in front of a season-high 6,018 fans and guaranteed their first home series win since 2021.
Neither team could get much going offensively early. Naturals starter Anthony Veneziano worked around singles in the first two innings to post scoreless frames.
Shortstop Tyler Tolbert started a two-out rally in the bottom of the third with his second single of the game and advanced to second on an errant pickoff throw by Wind Surge starter Blayne Enlow. Three pitches later, second baseman Peyton Wilson drove him in with a single to right and gave the Naturals a 1-0 lead.
The Naturals doubled their lead in the fifth with left fielder Parker Bates’ first homer of the year; a two-out solo shot to left-center.
Veneziano continued to deal, only allowing one runner in scoring position all night after back-to-back two-out singles in the top of the sixth, but he came back to strike out his final batter of the night on three pitches. The lefty’s final sparkling line included six scoreless innings with six strikeouts, dropping his season ERA to 1.69.
Righty Noah Murdock came on in relief in the seventh and gave up a leadoff homer to center fielder Dashawn Kerisey Jr. down the left field line to cut the lead in half. The next three batters retired after the rude greeting as the Naturals clung on to a one-run lead heading into stretch time.
The Naturals’ offense sprung into life in the bottom of the inning and provided some much-needed insurance. A leadoff walk and bunt single set up first baseman Jake Means, who hooked a two-run double into the left-field corner to stretch the lead to 4-1. Bates tacked on a run-scoring single into center.
Murdock pitched a perfect eighth and ninth to cap off a three-inning save and improve the Naturals to two games above. 500 and look to finish out the series at 2:05 p.m. Sunday.