Early Lead Falters as Drillers Defeat Naturals
SPRINGDALE, Ark - Northwest Arkansas led through the first five innings but the early lead faltered as the Tulsa Drillers (68-56/31-24) defeated the Naturals (50-72/19-35) by a 6-2 final on Saturday night. The victory by Tulsa evens this series at a game apiece setting up the rubber match on Sunday afternoon, which will be the final meeting of the season between the two clubs.
Staked to an early 1-0 lead after a RBI double by Gabriel Cancel in the bottom of the first inning, Northwest Arkansas' starter Scott Blewett (L, 0-3) went to work. The veteran right-hander was on top of his game throughout the early portion of the contest as he retired the first 12 batters he faced before giving up an infield single to Chris Parmelee to start the fifth inning.
The game would ultimately take a turn with two outs in the sixth. Drew Avans singled and scored on a double by Omar Estevez to tie the game at 1-1. After a walk and a single loaded the bases, Donovan Casey cleared the bases with a three-run double to give the visitors a 4-1 lead. That would end the night for Blewett as he ended up giving up four runs on five hits in 5.2 innings.
Grant Gavin took over out of the Naturals' bullpen and got out of the fifth without allowing another run but the Drillers would continue their attack in the sixth as Estevez provided two more runs with his second double of the game for the 6-1 advantage.
Northwest Arkansas would mount their last charge in the home half of the seventh as Dairon Blanco drove home Freddy Fermin with a single but reliever Stetson Allie would escape a two-on, two-out jam by striking out Cancel to end the threat. Ryan Moseley would follow Allie in the eighth and fire 2.0 perfect frames with four strikeouts to secure the victory for Tulsa.
Markus Solbach (W, 3-0) got the start for Tulsa and outlasted Blewett's performance to secure his third win of the season.
The victory puts Tulsa in sole possession of first place in the second half standings following Arkansas' loss at Springfield.
Northwest Arkansas will conclude their homestand with the series finale against the Tulsa Drillers (Double-A Los Angeles Dodgers) tomorrow afternoon - Sunday, August 18th - with first pitch scheduled for 2:05 p.m. on a Kids Eat FREE Sunday presented by Burn Boot Camp with Mercy Kids Run the Bases. Northwest Arkansas will send right-hander Jackson Kowar (2-6, 3.28 ERA) to the bump to square off against Parker Curry (4-5, 3.08 ERA) of Tulsa. Catch all of the live play-by-play action with the Voice of the Naturals Benjamin Kelly on KQSM - 92.1 The Ticket at 1:45 p.m. for the Indigo Sky Casino Pregame Show.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League Affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The Naturals play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, Ark. For more information, including statistics, ticket options, promotions, group options and more, please visit NWANaturals.com, and follow us on Twitter @NWANaturals and Facebook.com/Naturals.
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