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Naturals Host Defending Texas League Champs

April 16, 2012 - Texas League (TL) - Northwest Arkansas Naturals News Release

SPRINGDALE, AR-The Northwest Arkansas Naturals begin a three game series with the Texas League defending champion San Antonio Missions with a double-header this Monday April 16 at Arvest Ballpark, with game one starting at 5:05 P.M. It is the second three game set for the teams this season after the Missions took two of three in San Antonio April 8-10.

The Series will feature several great pitching matchups beginning with Tim Melville (0-0, 0.00) against Robbie Erlin (0-0, 3.38). Erlin is ranked as the eighth best prospect in the San Diego system according to Baseball America. Melville threw five shutout innings on April 9 against the Missions in a game the Naturals 4-3.

The second game will feature Chris Dwyer (0-2, 7.71) against left-hander Juan Oramas (0-1, 8.44), who is ranked as the twelfth best prospect in the San Diego system by Baseball America. This will be a rematch of the April 10 rubber game in San Antonio. Oramas got the best of Dwyer even though he didn't qualify for the win, he went four and two thirds innings allowing four hits and one run, walking one and striking out four.

The final game of the series will pit Jake Odorizzi (1-1, 6.35) against Missions right-hander Keyvius Sampson (1-0, 1.93). Odorizzi is looking to rebound from his shortest outing of the year going just two-thirds of an inning against Corpus Christi. Sampson is rated the tenth best prospect in the San Diego Padres system according to Baseball America. He is in his first season in Double-A, and has made two starts this season, both against Tulsa.

The Naturals are coming off of their best offensive performance of the season and have been swinging the bat a lot better since returning to Arvest Ballpark. Wil Myers has a hit in all nine games this season, and will look to continue his hitting streak. He is coming off of a career game with a home run and a career high five RBI. Carlo Testa 5-for-12 (.417) and Sharlon Schoop 5-for-11 (.455) have also been hot offensively for the Naturals.

The Missions have some big bats in their lineup as well, and are a team that can beat you with the long ball. Nathan Frieman leads the Missions and the Texas league with four home runs on the season and he has posted a .310 batting average. Outfielder Cody Decker has gotten hot of late as well after belting two home runs against the Naturals on April 10. He now has three home runs and six RBI on the young season.

Jason Hagerty also has a pair of home runs including a walk-off homer against the Naturals Michael Mariot that gave the Missions a 4-3 win back on April 9. Hagerty enters the season ranked by Baseball America as the San Diego Padres 20th best prospect. Other top prospects from the Padres system include infielders Jedd Gyorko (6th), Jeudy Valedez (26th), relief pitchers Matt Lollis (21st) and Miles Mikolas (16th), outfielders Edinson Rincon (19th), Jaff Decker (11th), and Reymond Fuentes (18th). Rincon is in the process of converting from a third baseman to an outfielder this season with the Missions. Gyorko off to a slow start after hitting 25 home runs and driving in 114 last season. He is hitting .212 with just one home run and three RBI in 2012, but is more than capable of taking over a game at the plate.

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