Late Rally Falls Short in North Little Rock
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Northwest Arkansas cut the Travelers lead to 4-3 with a base-hit by Meibrys Viloria in the top of the ninth inning; but that's all the Naturals could manufacture in the final at-bat of the game. Arkansas defeated the Naturals, 4-3 on Monday night from Dickey-Stephens Park in the opening game of a seven-game road trip.
Northwest Arkansas (19-24) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a two-out single to leftfield by Kort Peterson which plated Taylor Featherston from second, following his lead-off double in the frame. Nick Heath generated the next run with his leg.
He led the third inning off with a walk, stole second which produced an errant throw into centerfield and allowed Heath to score all the way from second to push the advantage to 2-0 off starter, Justin Dunn.
Arkansas (27-15) capitalized on two errors in the field by the Naturals in the bottom of the third off Naturals' starter, Arnaldo Hernandez (2-1, 0.00) to take a 3-2 lead and added the fourth run in the seventh inning.
Travelers' starter, Justin Dunn was ejected in the fifth inning arguing a hit-by-pitch ruling and reliever, Zac Grotz (1-1, 1.01) entered and stymied the Naturals over 3.2 innings with six strikeouts and one hit.
Reliever, Grant Gavin, pitched the sixth and the seventh innings in relief of Hernandez who went 5.0 innings and struck out six. Gavin pitched an "Immaculate Inning" in the sixth frame striking out Nick Zammerelli, Joseph Odom and Aaron Knapp. It is the first one in franchise history.
Khalil Lee was ejected in the eighth inning for arguing balls and strikes.
Featherston led the offense with a pair of hits including his fifth double of the year. Heath finished 2-for-4 with a run scored and a career-high four stolen bases in the contest. The Naturals stole five bases in the contest.
The Naturals and the Travelers will continue the series tomorrow night with a 7:10 first pitch from Dickey-Stephens with right-hander, Gerson Garabito (2-3, 4.06 ERA) on the mound against left-hander, Ricardo Sanchez (4-3, 3.68) for the Travelers.
Join Benjamin Kelly for the Indigo Sky Casino Pregame Show beginning at 6:50 p.m. leading up to the 7:10 first pitch on 92.1-FM, the Ticket and on the MiLB First Pitch app.
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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