Travs Take Tight Game One in ExtrasSeptember 7, 2011 - Texas League (TL) Northwest Arkansas Naturals
Naturals' closer Blaine Hardy recorded two quick outs in the frame but allowed a single to Blake Gailen, a light-hitting outfielder the Travelers acquired out of an independent league. That ended up costing Hardy and the Naturals, as Alberto Rosario drew a walk and then up came Perez, who singled to right as Gailen scored the winning run.
This came in the bottom half of an inning where the Naturals had a golden opportunity to take the lead and possibly get some insurance. Derrick Robinson led off the 11th with a walk from 7-foot-1 reliever Loek Van Mil. Christian Colon bunted Robinson to second and the Travs elected to set up another force by walking Anthony Seratelli intentionally.
Left-handed reliever Robert Fish was brought on to pitch to Naturals' cleanup hitter Tim Smith, who hit an infield single to load the bases. Travs' skipper Bobby Mitchell then summoned closer David Carpenter to face Paulo Orlando. Carpenter got Orlando swinging and Wil Myers on an innocuous popout to third to end what was the Naturals' best scoring opportunity since the first inning.
In that first inning, facing Travs' goateed starter and Texas League Pitcher of the Year Matt Shoemaker, Robinson drew an uncharacteristic walk from the righty to start the game. Colon was then plunked and Seratelli got a bunt down to put runners at second and third with just one out. Smith grounded out to score Robinson but Shoemaker settled down to get Orlando swinging to end the frame with just one run coming across.
The Travs' answered back in the bottom of the first, taking advantage of a Naturals' miscue. Luis Jimenez hit a two-out single and swiped second. Seratelli, at first base for the Naturals, dropped a popup from Gabe Jacobo to put runners at the corners, and Jimenez scored on an ensuing RBI single from Roberto Lopez.
That ended up being all the offense until the 11th as Travelers and Naturals pitchers went nearly toe-to-toe. Shoemaker settled in to pitch seven strong innings, allowing the Naturals' offense just two hits and a pair of walks. He fanned seven.
Naturals' starter Chris Dwyer was nearly as efficient although he pitched just six frames, allowing two hits and three walks and the one unearned run. He also struckout seven.
Brendan Lafferty relieved and worked around a hit in the seventh before walking two of the first three batters he faced in the eighth, one intentionally. Kendal Volz picked him up and got out of the frame and chipped in 2 2/3 of stellar relief, fanning five.
The Naturals will try and even the series as they send right-hander Jake Odorizzi (5-3, 4.72) to the mound for game two as he faces off against Travelers' right-hander Chris Scholl (4-3, 2.32). Game time is 7 P.M. and the broadcast will be on ESPN 92.1 The Ticket.
Texas League Stories from September 7, 2011
- Travs Need 11 to Take First Game of Playoffs - Arkansas Travelers
- Travs Take Tight Game One in Extras - Northwest Arkansas Naturals
- Missions Take Game One With 3-0 Shutout - San Antonio Missions
- Wieland Bests Ross, 'Riders in Game 1 Thriller - Frisco RoughRiders
- Trout Player of the Year - Arkansas Travelers
- Playoff Preview: First-Round In-State Showdown - Northwest Arkansas Naturals
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- Two New Pitchers Join Naturals for Playoffs - Northwest Arkansas Naturals
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