The Wranglers held the lead throughout Tuesday night's game as a home-crowd of 6,578 fans watched the Cards fall to Wichita 4-3 on 10 hits and two errors for the Wranglers and seven hits and one error for the Cardinals.
The Cards made a valiant attempt to come from behind in both the third and fifth innings as Tyler Minges got an RBI double off Wichita starter Kyle Middleton, and drove in Kevin Estrada, who had received a lead-off walk. That brought the score to 2-1, after the Wranglers had managed to score twice in the first inning as Lambert issued a walk to Justin Huber, a single to Cory Aldridge, and a single to Josh Pressley that allowed Huber and Aldridge to score when the ball bounced off the glove of Cody Haerther in left field.
In the fifth inning the Cardinals attempted a rally as Minges, Robinson Cancel and Juan Diaz all reached base on consecutive singles. Minges crossed home plate on the Diaz single, making the score 3-2. The Wranglers had managed to score a third run in the top of the fifth when Justin Huber received a lead-off walk from Jeremy Cook, who came on for Lambert in the fourth, and was brought home to score by a sacrifice fly from Mike Aviles.
Both teams scored in the sixth inning, when Brennan King led off the inning with a single and scored on a Justin Huber sacrifice fly, while the Cards scored when Middleton threw a wild pitch that scored Aaron Herr from third, making the score 4-3, also the final score of the night giving Middleton (7-4) his second win against Springfield this season.
Even with the loss, there was one bright spot of the evening. Anthony Ferrari took over for Cal Eldrid, who struggled in the seventh and eighth innings, and threw seven pitches, six of which were strikes, to blank the side in the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth, with the Wranglers leading 4-3, Hearther went down swinging, Minges popped-up to first base in foul territory and Cancel grounded out to the first baseman for the unassisted and final out of the game.
On Wednesday night the Cards bounced back in 12 innings to beat the Wranglers 7-6 and even the series at one game each. Shaun Boyd was the hero of the evening as he hit a solid ground ball past Justin Huber at third base, scoring Cody Haerther to win the game in the bottom of the 12th inning. The Cards are now back over .500 at 30-29 and only six games back of Texas League Eastern Division leading Tulsa Drillers. Boyd also hit his first home run of the year and his first at the Double-A level, in the second inning, a two-run long-ball that gave the Cards a 4-2 lead.
In the top of the ninth, with the Cards leading 5-3, Evan Rust gave up a three-run homer to Justin Huber to give Wichita a 6-5 lead. In the bottom of the ninth, Andy Schutzenhofer, brought in for his defense at first base in the top of the inning, doubled down the left field line to bring in Travis Hanson from second to tie the score. On the same play, Robinson Cancel, who had walked to give Schutzenhofer a turn at the bat, made the final out as he was called out at the plate trying to score. Cancel, however, had done his part to help the team back in the first inning when he hit his sixth homerun of the year, a two run homer.
Scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 12th, the Cards are now 7-2 on the home stand and will face Wichita again tonight (Thursday) to try to make it five out of the last six games. The Cardinals will send Randy Leek (6-2) to mound to face the Wrangler's Derrin Ebert (2-1). Game time is 7:10 p.m., gates open at 6:10 p..m. and tickets are available by calling (417) 863-2143 or on line at www.springfieldcardinals.com. The game can also be heard live on KWTO's JOCK 98.7 FM or by clicking on the "listen live" ling on www.springfleldcardinals.com.