Naturals Even Series as Kennedy Picks up Win 1,000
SPRINGDALE, Ark - The Northwest Arkansas Naturals (41-48/10-11) defeated the Tulsa Drillers (48-43/11-11) by a 3-1 final at Arvest Ballpark on Friday night to even up this 4-game series. With the victory, manager Darryl Kennedy secured his 1,000th managerial win. Kennedy, in his first season with Northwest Arkansas, has amassed those wins over 21 professional seasons. The crowd of 5,419 gave DK a loud ovation while the organization played a tribute to his 1,000 career wins on the videoboard.
The Naturals wasted little time getting the offense started on Friday as Nick Heath opened the home half of the first with a triple to the wall in right-center field before Khalil Lee followed with a single to center for a 1-0 lead. After Lee stole second and moved to third on an error, Emmanuel Rivera knocked him home with a RBI single to give Northwest Arkansas a 2-0 advantage.
The two early runs were basically all Naturals' starter Gerson Garabito (W, 5-6) would need. The mid-season Texas League All-Star had his 'A' game working on Friday as he picked up his fifth win of the season after firing 7.0 scoreless innings against the Drillers while striking out four and only walking one. The quality start was Northwest Arkansas' eighth in their last nine games.
The Naturals would add a run of insurance in the eighth as Kort Peterson drove home Meibrys Viloria for a 3-0 lead.
Reliever Bryan Brickhouse (H, 1) worked a perfect eighth before giving up the lone run on a walk and two hits in the ninth. Arkansas-native Tyler Zuber (S, 4) entered to get the final out and he struck out Zach McKinstry on three pitches to end it.
Tulsa received a complete-game in a losing effort out of Justin De Fratus (L, 5-5) as the veteran right-hander gave up three runs on 10 hits while striking out four through his 8.0 innings of work.
The Naturals out-hit the Drillers on the night by a 10-to-9 margin. In total, eight out of the nine hitters in the Northwest Arkansas lineup recorded at least a base hit with Heath and Peterson leading the way with two hits apiece in the contest.
Northwest Arkansas will continue their 4-game homestand with Game 3 of this 4-game set against the Tulsa Drillers (Double-A Los Angeles Dodgers) tomorrow night - Saturday, July 13th - at Arvest Ballpark. First pitch is slated for 6:05 p.m. while gates will open at 4:30 p.m. for a Naturals Navy Throwback Replica Jersey Giveaway courtesy of Arvest and our Bullpen Craft Beer Bar Happy Hour from 4:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. The Naturals will send right-hander Conner Greene (3-6, 5.08 ERA) to the hill where he'll square off against fellow right-hander Edwin Uceta (0-2, 5.70 ERA) of the Drillers. Catch all of the play-by-play action with the Voice of the Naturals Benjamin Kelly on KQSM - 92.1 The Ticket at 5:45 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, and more, please visit NWANaturals.com, and follow us on Twitter @NWANaturals and Facebook.com/Naturals.
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