Late Offense Propels Naturals to Victory at Frisco
FRISCO, Texas - In a game where Northwest Arkansas never trailed, things got a little tight in the late innings. Frisco tightened the game with four runs in the sixth and seventh innings, combined to make it a 5-4 contest; but the Naturals retaliated with a four-run eighth frame to run away with the win.
Northwest Arkansas (31-36) evened the three-game series at a game apiece with a 9-4 triumph over the Frisco RoughRiders on Saturday night at Dr. Pepper Ballpark in-front of 10,067 fans.
All-star reliever, Walker Weickel, for the RoughRiders issued back-to-back walks in the eighth to catalyze the Naturals' rally. Anderson Miller laid down a key sacrifice bunt to advance both runners, setting up a two-run double by Taylor Featherston to expand the Natuarals' lead to 7-4. Featherston scored on a two-strike single by Meibrys Viloria and then Viloria scored on a base-hit to left by Kort Peterson, pushing the lead to 9-4.
Right-hander, Yunior Marte tossed the final two innings and induced a game-ending double-play to finish the contest.
The Naturals jumped all over the struggling Frisco starter, Tyler Phillips (0-5, 7.48 ERA) in the first three innings. Three hitters into the contest, Khalil Lee doubled home Gabriel Cancel from first base and then later scored on a ground-out by Emmanuel Rivera, gifting starter, Ofreidy Gomez a 2-0 lead before he threw a pitch.
Northwest Arkansas added a run in the second inning with a run-scoring double by Kort Peterson and then two more runs in the third. Rivera drove-in Cancel from second with a double and then later scored on a wild pitch to put the Naturals in-front, 5-0.
Gomez (4-4, 3.73 ERA) worked his first five innings, scoreless, working in-and-out of traffic on the bases the entire night. The RoughRiders' got to him in the sixth inning, knocking Gomez out with the bases-loaded and one-out with the 5-0 lead still intact.
Right-hander, Grant Gavin, came in and gave-up a sacrifice fly for the first out, then hit a batter, barley grazing him on the right-hand to reload the bases. He induced a ground-ball to short; but the ball was thrown away allowing two runs to score, unearned, cutting the Naturals' lead to 5-3. Frisco added a fourth run off reliever, Drew Storen in the seventh inning, making it a 5-4 game.
Marte extended his scoreless inning streak to 13.2 innings with the two scoreless frames tonight. Since May 16, Marte is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA working 13.2 innings of shutout baseball with eight hits allowed for a 0.170 opponents' average. He owns a 0.73 WHIP with 17 strikeouts against just two walks.
Four of the nine hitters tonight recorded multiple hits with Rivera (2-for-4), Featherston (2-for-4) and Peterson (2-for-4) all driving in a pair of runs in the contest.
Northwest Arkansas will lock-up with Frisco on Sunday, June 16 for a 6:05 p.m. first pitch at Dr. Pepper Ballpark, attempting to clinch the club's fifth consecutive series. Major League rehab, Eric Skoglund (1-0, 1.59 ERA) will take the ball for his second start of the road trip and second rehab outing. He'll be matched-up with right-hander, Richelson Pena (0-2, 7.30 ERA) who will make his third start of the year for Frisco.
First pitch is slated for 5:45 p.m. with the Indigo Sky Casino Pregame Show beginning at 6:05 with the "Voice of the Naturals," Benjamin Kelly on 92.1-FM, the Ticket and the Naturals Radio Network.
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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