Featherston Homers Twice as Naturals Sweep Drillers
RINGDALE, Ark - Northwest Arkansas' shortstop Taylor Featherston has made his presence felt ever since being reinstated from the injured list on Monday, May 13. He now has three home runs in his last two games, including two today, as the Naturals (16-22) complete the 3-game sweep with a 6-5 win over the Tulsa Drillers (20-18) at Arvest Ballpark on Wednesday.
Featherston was involved right from the start in the series finale as he connected on an opposite-field home run off a 1-1 fastball from Tulsa starter Dustin May (L, 2-3) with one-out in the first to give Northwest Arkansas the early 1-0 advantage.
Tulsa though would respond with four unearned runs in the top half of the second to take a three-run lead. Keibert Ruiz singled and advanced to third on a two base error on a Cody Thomas fly ball and D.J. Peters followed with a sacrifice fly, which tied it at 1-1. With runners at second and third, Jared Walker jumped on a 0-2 pitch for a three-run home run giving Tulsa a 4-1 lead.
The game would remain 4-1 into the fourth when the Naturals would cut into the Drillers lead. Emmanuel Rivera and Anderson Miller started the frame with back-to-back singles before Rivera scored on a wild pitch. Then with two outs and a runner at third, Kort Peterson laced a triple into right-center field that scored Miller and put Northwest Arkansas within a run at 4-3.
The Naturals would finally overtake the Drillers in the sixth as Miller doubled home Rivera and Travis Jones had a RBI single.
Clinging to the 5-4 lead in the seventh, Featherston would bookend the scoring for Northwest Arkansas with his second opposite-field home run. The game-winner, which came off of Drillers' reliever Nolan Long, was his fourth homer of the year.
Tulsa would plate a run in the ninth on a Zach McKinstry single but Franco Terrero (S, 3) worked out of the jam with a 4-6-3 double play to record his third save of the season and preserve the 6-5 win and the 3-game sweep of the Double-A Dodgers.
Arnaldo Hernandez (W, 2-0) made his 2019 home debut and earned his second consecutive win. The big right-hander struck out six through 6.0 innings of work giving up four runs, none earned, on six hits while not issuing a walk. Since being transferred from Triple-A Omaha, Hernandez is 2-0 in his two starts and has not given up an earned run through 13.0 innings pitched.
On the day, the Naturals out-hit the Drillers by a 9-to-8 margin. Miller enjoyed a 3-for-4 outing while the aforementioned Featherston led the squad with two runs driven in. Six out of the nine starters had a hit while four different guys had RBIs.
Northwest Arkansas will continue their 7-game homestand by welcoming the Springfield Cardinals (Double-A St. Louis) to Arvest Ballpark tomorrow night - Thursday, May 16 - to begin a 4-game series. The matchup begins with a Thirsty Thursday as Northwest Arkansas will give the baseball to right-hander Gerson Garabito (2-2, 3.58 ERA) while the Cardinals will counter with Johan Oviedo (0-0, 6.75 ERA) in the opener. Catch all of the live play-by-play action with the Voice of the Naturals Benjamin Kelly on AM 1590 - The Ticket 2 at 6:45 p.m. for the Indigo Sky Casino Pregame Show leading up to first pitch at Arvest Ballpark.
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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