July 25, 2007 - Texas League (TL) - Arkansas Travelers
Dickey-Stephens Park, North Little Rock, AR - Down by five after one-and-a-half innings, the Arkansas Travelers (18-14, 49-53) faced a tough test against Springfield RHP Cory Rauschenberger (7-7). In three previous games against Rauschenberger, the Travs had batted just .156 and scored only six runs in 19 innings. However the Travs were able to rally against Rauschenberger knocking him from the game in the fifth and they went on for a 13-8 victory over the Cardinals (19-13, 55-44). In winning their eighth straight game, the Travs established a new season high in runs scored with both Freddy Sandoval and Sean Rodriguez crossing the plate three times each. Sandoval, the Texas League Player of the Week, extended a hitting streak to nine games with a 4-for-5 night including a triple and two RBI. Rodriguez homered (12) and had three base hits and three RBI. RHP Fernando Rodriguez (6-1) spotted the Cards a 5-0 lead after his first two innings, but held them scoreless until leaving the game after the fifth in winning his fourth consecutive decision. By taking two straight against Springfield, the Travs have pulled within a game of the Cards for first place in the Texas League North Division. The Travs winning streak is their longest since 2001.
The Cardinals got to Rodriguez quickly with three runs and four base hits in the first inning. Sean Danielson started the game with a flare into right field for a single, then Mark Shorey ripped a base hit to right moving Danielson to second. After the first out, Rodriguez moved Danielson to third base with a wild pitch and he scored on Juan Richardson's sac fly. Mark Hamilton's sharp single to center was followed by a hard double to right-center field hit by Bryan Anderson for a 3-0 Springfield lead.
Rodriguez allowed the first four batters of the second inning to reach base beginning with a single hit by Juan Lucena. He advanced to third base when Jose Martinez hit a bouncer past third for a base hit. The ball bounced off the concrete wall next to the foul line and rolled in front of LF Coby Smith, and he pegged Martinez on his attempt at a double. Danielson then whacked a 2-0 pitch for a home run to right field giving the Cards a 5-0 lead.
Sean Rodriguez started the come back with a home run to left field to leadoff the bottom of the second inning. In the third inning, Brad Coon hit a one-out triple to right-center and was singled home by Adam Morrissey to get within 5-2.
Fernando Rodriguez held the Cardinals to one baserunner each over the third, fourth and fifth innings and the Travs took the lead for good in the fifth.
Leading off the fifth inning, Coby Smith hit a dribbler to the left of the plate and beat the throw for a single. Coon then dropped a perfect drag bunt and beat the throw for another single. With one out, Sandoval cracked a drive to left-center field for a triple scoring Smith and Coon to get the Travs within one run. Then Rodriguez hit a hard grounder behind third base that 3B Juan Lucena stopped. He threw home late as Sandoval scored to tie the game, at 5-5. Rauschenberger then issued a walk to Ben Johnson before getting pulled in favor of RHP Chris Russ. After the second out, Matt Pali hit a high fly ball into left-center field bringing Danielson and CF Colby Rasmus together. Neither fielder took charge and the ball glanced off Rasmus's glove for an error scoring two runs for a 7-5 Travs lead.
Russ came back for the sixth inning and walked Morrissey before Sandoval pulled a groundball to right field for a single. Rodriguez followed with a chopper through the left side for an RBI single and an 8-5 lead while Sandoval took third base. Sandoval later scored on a balk by reliever LHP Zack Zuercher for a 9-5 lead.
After RHP Jeff Kennard pitched around three walks for a scoreless sixth inning, Springfield touched up RHP David Austen for two runs in the seventh to get within 9-7, but Travs 1B Mike Collins tripled and scored on Smith's sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to get on top 10-7.
Richardson hit a solo home run (15) off RHP Bill Edwards in the eighth, but once again the Travs came right back putting up a three spot in the bottom of the eighth. Sandoval, Rodriguez and Johnson all singled with no outs against RHP Kyle McClellan to load the bases. Matt Pali drove in two runs with a big bouncer that scooted underneath 2B Casey Rowlett's glove for a single. Collins, now on a nine-game hitting streak, drove in the game's last run with a line drive single to center.
Time of game was 3:09 and the paid attendance was 5,901.
To see tonight's boxscore please click this link.
The Tulsa Drillers return to Arkansas just three days after the tragic death of their first-base coach Mike Coolbaugh. The four-game series begins Thursday night at 7:10 p.m. and the gates open at 6:10 p.m. Arkansas sends RHP Brok Butcher (1-0, 0.00 ERA) to the mound against Tulsa LHP Sean Thompson (4-8, 4.08 ERA).