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Friday, April 21, 2017

Wheeler fans career-high 11 in Red Wings win

All WNY News     Friday, April 21, 2017    

STAFF REPORTS
news@allwnynews.com



Jason Wheeler struck out a career-high 11 batters over 7.0 innings and Leonardo Reginatto hit the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the 8th inning and the Rochester Red Wings beat the Charlotte Knights 3-2 Friday night at BB&T Ballpark.

Wheeler (1-1) had fanned 10 batters in a game four times in his minor league career entering Friday. He and the Red Wings (8-6) fell behind early as Rymer Liriano hit a solo home run in the 2nd inning to give the Knights (6-9) a 1-0 lead. Charlotte added to its lead in the 3rd as Willy Garcia drove in a run with a single to make it 2-0.

Rochester struggled to get any offense going against Knights spot-starter Chris Volstad. Former Red Wing Mike Pelfrey was the scheduled starter but was scratched about an hour before first pitch. Volstad had surrendered exactly one hit in each of the first four innings but didn't allow a baserunner past second base.

The Red Wings were finally able to get to Volstad in the 5th as John Ryan Murphy doubled to open the frame and Quintin Berry then walked to force a call to the Charlotte bullpen. Giovanni Soto entered and walked J.B. Shuck to load the bases with no outs. Murphy then scored on a wild pitch after Tommy Field swung through strike three to cut the deficit in half at 2-1. Matt Hague's RBI groundout tied the game at 2-2.

Wheeler, meanwhile, allowed just two baserunners after the 3rd, both in the 5th inning on a two-out single and a walk. He retired the final seven batters of his outing and struck out multiple batters in an inning five times. The only inning Wheeler did not record a strikeout was the 2nd. He surrendered five hits and two walks with 11 strikeouts over 7.0 innings.

Rochester would take its first lead in the 8th as Kennys Vargas opened the inning with a walk against Brad Goldberg (0-1) and Bengie Gonzalez came on as a pinch-runner. The next batter, Daniel Palka, drove a ball deep to center that the center fielder, Garcia, nearly caught but as he stretched his arm out to make the grab his glove hit the wall which jarred the ball from his glove. Palka was credited with a double and Gonzalez ended up at third base. Reginatto followed with a fly ball to center which scored Gonzalez to give the Wings a 3-2 lead but Palka was thrown out trying to advance to third on the play.

Alex Wimmers was summoned to pitch the 9th but Charlotte would not go quietly. Liriano opened the inning with a single and Jason Bourgeois pinch ran for him. He was sacrificed to second before Carson Blair ripped a solid single to left to put runners at the corners with one out. Jose Vinicio hit a soft tapper back to the mound that Wimmers fielded and threw home to retire Bourgeois in plenty of time. Yoan Moncada then grounded to first base to end the game.

Shuck and Reginatto each finished with two hits for the Wings, who snapped a two-game skid.

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