June 17, 2017 - Texas League (TL) - Arkansas Travelers
Springfield, MO -The Arkansas Travelers were eliminated from first half playoff contention on Friday night, dropping a 4-3 decision to the Springfield Cardinals in 11 innings. The loss puts the Travs four games back of division leading Northwest Arkansas with three games to play.
The Travelers never led but rallied to tie twice in a chaotic game that witnessed a combined 39 base runners but only seven that crossed the plate. Travs' starter Lindsey Caughel battled his way through 5.1 innings while dealing with 11 runners but only allowing two runs on seven hits. He set season highs with six strikeouts and three walks. Cardinals' starter Zac Gallen worked 6.2 innings of one-run ball in just his third double-a starts.
After Springfield scored in the first, Arkansas tied it in the sixth on Dario's Pizzano's RBI double only to see Springfield retake the lead in the bottom of the inning on a two out RBI double from Magneuris Sierra . After a Jacob Wilson homer stretched the Cardinal lead in the seventh, Marcus Littlewood answered with a tying two run blast in the eighth for the Travs.
Springfield nearly won the game in the bottom of the ninth. They loaded the bases with no one out following a triple from Sierra and two intentional walks. Blake Perry got out of it though with back-to-back strikeouts and a groundout. The Cardinals got the game-winning hit with two out in the bottom of the 11th from Dickie Joe Thon on a grounder that tipped off the glove of the diving Jeff Kobernus and trickled into right field scoring Bruce Caldwell .
Both teams missed the opportunity for more runs. Springfield stranded a total of 15 runners on the night including nine in the game's opening four innings and they were just 3-19 with runners in scoring position. Arkansas stranded a total of 13 runners including leaving the bases loaded in the seventh and eighth innings and they went 0-9 with runners in scoring position.
Ian Baker (2-1) earned the win from the Cardinal bullpen with 2.1 scoreless innings. Thyago Vieira (2-2) took the loss for the Travs after surrendering the run in the 11th.
The Travs and Cards wrap up this series with a 6:10 first pitch Saturday night. Right-hander Justin DeFratus (2-1, 5.19) starts for Arkansas opposite righty Dakota Hudson (4-3, 3.12) for Springfield. The game will be broadcast on the Sports Animal 920, the First Pitch App, TuneIn radio and milb.tv.