April 21, 2017 - Texas League (TL) - Springfield Cardinals
North Little Rock, AR - The Springfield Cardinals captured their third straight victory with a 6-3 win against the Arkansas Travelers before 5,078 fans at Dickey-Stephens Park on Thursday night.
The Cardinals (8-5) swung into an early lead in the top of the first against RHP Dylan Unsworth (L, 0-1). With one down, LF Nick Martini worked a walk to reach base, before racing around to third on a ground-rule double from RF Adolis Garcia. DH Bruce Caldwell then placed an RBI groundout to short, bringing in Martini and lifting Springfield ahead, 1-0.
LHP Austin Gomber (W, 1-1) dealt a scoreless first frame, but the Travelers (6-7) tied it in the bottom of the second. 1B Ryan Casteel started the stanza with a walk, before Gomber battled back with a strikeout. SS Joey Wong advanced Casteel to second with a groundout, followed by an RBI double from DH Justin Seager to square the score, 1-1.
Springfield, though, jumped right back in front in the top of the third. With two down and the bases empty, Garcia hammered a solo home run to left field, his team-leading third homer of the season, propelling the Cardinals back in front, 2-1.
Gomber kept the one-run lead intact with scoreless work in the third and fourth, before Springfield added to the lead in the fifth. With two away, CF Oscar Mercado extended the inning with a single. After Mercado swiped second, Martini worked a walk to put runners at first and second. Garcia struck again, this time with an RBI double torn down the left field line, stretching the advantage to 3-1.
Gomber finished his outing with two more scoreless innings, allowing just the one run on three hits and three walks while striking out five through six innings of work.
Following Gomber's final frame, the Cardinals tacked on a fourth run in the top of the seventh. 2B Eliezer Alvarez sparked the charge with a base hit, before taking second with a stolen base. Two outs later, Martini sliced an RBI ground-rule double into the right field corner, plating Alvarez from second base for the 4-1 lead.
Arkansas, though, threatened to tie it in the bottom of the seventh. RHP Daniel Bard took over on the mound and started the inning with a strikeout, but then hit SS Joey Wong with a pitch. After a single from pinch-hitting DH Chantz Mack, a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third. One out later, CF Ian Miller extended the inning with a two-out walk, loading the bases. Bard then hit LF Chuck Taylor with the bases full, forcing in a run and leading to RHP Trey Nielsen entering the game. C Tyler Marlette welcomed Nielsen to the mound with an RBI infield single up the middle, but Nielsen bounced back and dealt an inning-ending strikeout to get out of the jam with Springfield up, 4-3.
Nielsen preserved the one-run lead with a 1-2-3 eighth inning, before the Cardinals stretched it back out in the top of the ninth. C Gabriel Lino and Mercado drew consecutive walks to start the inning. Martini then brought both runners in with a two-run double to right-center field, opening the Cardinals lead to 6-3.
RHP Pedro Echemendia (S, 1) came on for the bottom of the ninth and slammed the door, dealing a perfect final frame to close the 6-3 win for Springfield.