Featherston Hits Three Homers, Naturals Pound Poodles, 14-3
AMARILLO, Texas - Infielder, Taylor Featherston made his first start at shortstop for the first time since Sunday, July 14 and made the most of his day. The 29-year old former big leaguer blasted a trio of home runs, doubled and drove in a career-high seven runs to aid the Naturals' 14-3 win over Amarillo on Saturday night at Hodgetown.
Featherston joined an elite club in Naturals franchise history, becoming the third player in the club's 12-year history to hit three home runs in a game and the first since August, 2013. His solo home run in the second inning tied the score at 1-1 and he gave the Naturals' the lead with a three-run homer in the fourth by a 4-2 score. His first two home runs came off starter, Jesse Scholtens (3-5, 5.95 ERA) whom he was hitless against entering the game.
He blasted a two-run shot in the fifth inning off reliever, J.C. Cosme, off the hitter's eye in straight-away centerfield in his third at-bat of the contest. After a strikeout in the sixth inning, he came back to bat in the eighth and doubled down the rightfield line to cap-off his night, while driving in his seventh run of the contest.
Featherston raised his average from .250 to .259 with a 4-for-5 night, three home runs, a double and seven runs batted in. The seven RBIs tie a franchise record previously set by Brian Fletcher and Lane Adams, the two other players with three-home run games.
Northwest Arkansas (43-53/12-16) trailed 2-1 entering the fourth inning before a seven-run barrage vaulted the club in front for good. Following the three-run homer by Featherston, Kevin Merrell doubled in a run to make it a 5-2 game and on the next pitch, Gabriel Cancel, blasted a three-run shot to conclude the inning. The home run by Cancel is his 16th of the season, tying him with Springfield, Dylan Carlson for the most in the Texas League. Both Cancel and Featherston have homered in back-to-back contest.
The Naturals have hit eight home runs in the first two games of the series and entered the series having hit just four home runs in their previous 11 games.
Right-hander, Ofreidy Gomez (7-7, 3.93) picked up the win going five innings of three-run, five hit baseball with three strikeouts. He's won three of his last four decisions and has factored in the decision in his last nine appearances (eight starts). Gomez finished the outing strong after scuffling in the outset by two baserunners over his final three innings.
Reliever, Andres Sotillet fired 2.2 innings of scoreless relief and Holden Capps achieved the final four outs of the contest.
Cancel finished the game 2-for-5 with three RBIs and is now six-for-11 over his last three games with two homers, five RBIs and a double. With three more RBIs tonight, Cancel has 61 on the season, the second-most in the Texas League. Emmanuel Rivera recorded a three-hit contest as did Anderson Miller. Outfielder, Khalil Lee finished with a pair of hits including his 15th double of the season. Nick Heath extended his hitting streak to six games with a two-run single in the fifth inning.
Every player in the Naturals' line-up recorded at least one hit.
The series continues on Sunday, July 21 at Hodgetown. Right-hander, Jackson Kowar (1-2, 1.91 ERA) takes the hill for his sixth start of the season and makes his second start of the road trip. Right-hander, Lake Bachar (6-2, 3.55 ERA) counters for Amarillo.
Join the "Voice of the Naturals," Benjamin Kelly on 92.1-FM, the Ticket and the Naturals Radio Network for a 5:45 Indigo Sky Casino Pregame Show leading up to the 6:05 p.m. first pitch.
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, and more, please visit NWANaturals.com, and follow us on Twitter @NWANaturals and Facebook.com/Naturals.
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