Winnipeg Goldeyes Sweep Salina
WINNIPEG, MB – On a day when the Winnipeg Goldeyes put 16 runs on the board, a pitching masterpiece was almost overlooked.
Left-hander Kevin McGowan, one of the heroes of last year’s run to the American Association championship, threw a complete-game four-hit shutout – on only 91 pitches — as the Goldeyes eviscerated the Salina Stockade 16-0 on Wednesday afternoon.
McGovern threw single-digits in pitches during five of his nine innings and retired the last 11 batters he faced. He is now one strikeout shy of 400 for his professional career. It was McGovern’s sixth career complete game and his third career shutout.
“Another fine performance from Kevin,” Goldeyes hitting coach Tom Vaeth told the CJNU post-game show. “I thought he did a lot of things better than in his first start in Cleburne. He had a lot of control, and executed his pitches a lot better. It’s what you want from your starting pitcher, and hopefully he can keep it going.”
With the win, the Fish improved to 5-2 on the season and no matter what happens this weekend against Wichita, the Goldeyes can’t finish worse than .500 on their 10-game season-opening road trip.
Offensively, this one started early. With one out in the bottom of the first, Josh Romanski lined a single down the left field line and advanced to second when David Bergin walked. Reggie Abercrombie followed with a long home run to straightaway centre that gave Winnipeg a 3-0 lead.
It was the first of four crooked numbers posted by the Goldeyes’ offence. The Fish proceeded to score five more in the third, four in the fifth and four more in the sixth as Winnipeg laced 20 hits including home runs by Romanski (his fourth in seven games this season) and Abercrombie, his second of the season and the 101st of his American Association career.
“That was a good ball game,” said Vaeth. “Good way to finish the three-game series. We took care of business, and now we can set our sights on Wichita.”
Every Winnipeg hitter in the game got at least one base hit. Leadoff man David Rohm had three hits with two runs scored and three RBI. Romanski had four hits and scored three runs and drove in four. David Bergin had three hits with two runs scored and an RBI. Shawn Pleffner, who has now hit safely in all seven games this season, had two hits, scored a run and drove in a run. And Wes Darvill had three hits with three runs scored and an RBI.
Even rookie utility player Thomas Bess, who made his professional debut, singled in his first career at bat in the bottom of the seventh.
“I’m really happy for (Bess),” said Vaeth. “Everyone in the dugout was pulling for him. It’s a special moment for every ballplayer to get their first professional hit. We got him the baseball, and I’m sure he’ll have a few laughs and enjoy the evening.”
The Goldeyes will remain in Wichita, Kansas and open a three-game series against the Wichita Wingnuts on Thursday night. The first pitch from Lawrence-Dumont Stadium is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Zach Nuding (0-0, 3.38) takes on former Major League left-hander Charlie Leesman (1-0, 0.00). All the action can be heard locally on 93.7 FM CJNU.
The Goldeyes will play Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Wichita, get Sunday off to rreavel back to Winnipeg, and will open the 2017 home schedule on Monday, May 29, against the Sioux Falls Canaries at 7:05 p.m. at Shaw Park.
Scott Taylor, MyToba Sports
Photo by Dan LeMoal