The Washington Wild Things used three early home runs and another strong pitching performance by Rookie Matt Fraudin to power past Windy City 4-2 on Tuesday night at CONSOL Energy Park.
In his two home starts for the Wild Things (33-46) Fraudin has allowed an early run before settling down. Coco Johnson led off the game with a double and scored on an Austin Gallagher one-out RBI double. Gallagher tried to stretch the play into a triple, but was thrown out on a bang-bang play at the bag.
Following the play at third, Fraudin (2-1) retired 15 of the next 18 batters he faced before allowing a solo home run to Max White to start the seventh inning. He then allowed a single and recorded a strikeout before being removed after only 66 pitches.
“I definately wasn’t hitting my spots as good as the last game,” said Fraudin. “I was just throwing it over the plate. I gave up a few more hits and another run than last time, but it still was a decent outing. I just let the team make the plays around me.”
The unexpected removal did not factor into the outcome of the game as Steve Messner and Jonathan Kountis (8th Save) pitch 2.2 innings of perfect baseball.
Washington gave their starter some breathing room thanks to three first inning runs against Windy City starter Austin Wright (4-10). Matt Ford hit a one-out double to the gap in right and scored immediately when Sam Mende sent a first pitch fastball sailing over the left field wall for a 2-1 lead. The Wild Things’ super utility man is second on the team to David Popkins (19) with 9 and also trails him in RBI by one with 38.
“He plays the game right,” said Wild Things manager Bob Bozzuto. “He’s a professional. He’s a perfectionist. He’s played every infield position and started the season batting eighth for us. He’s consistent with his at bats and is very unselfish. He knows the game. I love having Sam Mende on our team.”
Scott Kalamar then made it back-to-back homers with a line drive in the same spot to make it 3-1.
Andrew Heck added the fourth run in the second with a solo home run — his first of the year — just over the left field fence.
Wright settled down for the Thunderbolts (33-45) retiring 19 of the final 24 batters he faced to go the distance in 131 pitches while striking out a career high 11 batters.
Washington will look to take the series in the second game of the three-game set Wednesday evening at 7:05.
(WAS) Fraudin (W, 2-1): 6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K’s. 66 Pitches (42 Strikes).
(WC) Wright (L, 4-10): 8 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 11 K’s, 3 HR. 131 Pitches (84 Strikes).
(Photo Credit: Washington Wild Things)