Naturals Secure Series Opening Win
SPRINGDALE, Ark - Back at Arvest Ballpark once again, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (6-9) enjoyed the comfort of home by scoring five runs in the fourth inning to secure a series opening 6-5 win over the Springfield Cardinals (5-10) on Thursday night. The come-from-behind victory over their division rivals keeps the Naturals' home record against the Cardinals at a perfect 5-0.
Trailing 4-0 in the fourth, Northwest Arkansas' offense got things rolling against the Cardinals' Austin Warner. Gabriel Cancel, Khalil Lee and Emmanuel Rivera recorded three straight one-out singles to make it a 4-1 game. After a two-out walk to Travis Jones loaded the bases, Taylor Featherston ripped a bases clearing triple into the gap in left-center to tie the game at 4-4. Not to be outdone, Kort Peterson followed with a RBI double off the wall down the left field line to give his team a lead at 5-4.
The game remained 5-4 into the sixth before the Naturals struck again behind the bats of Featherston and Peterson. The hot-hitting duo recorded back-to-back triples to plate the team's sixth and final run. The triple by Featherston joins the Naturals' shortstop with current Arkansas Travelers' manager Mitch Canham as the only players in team history with two triples in a game. Meanwhile, the three-bagger by Peterson made history as it set a new franchise mark with three triples in a game.
On the night, Northwest Arkansas recorded 10 hits with Featherston and Peterson accounting for five hits and five RBIs.
Springfield would rally with two outs to threaten in the ninth against Naturals' reliever Walker Sheller. Scott Hurst and Shane Billings singled before consecutive walks to Irving Lopez and Dylan Carlson made it a one-run game. Northwest Arkansas would call upon right-hander Grant Gavin (S, 1) and he responded by striking out Evan Mendoza on three pitches to end the game.
Veteran left-hander Emilio Ogando (W, 1-0) earned the win with 3.2 innings of scoreless relief as he took over for starting pitcher Andres Sotillet, whom gave up four runs on three hits but none of the runs were earned as the Naturals were able to overcome four defensive errors in the game. Meanwhile for the visitors, Warner (L, 0-2) ended up getting tagged with the loss.
Northwest Arkansas will continue their homestand with Game 2 of this 3-game set against the Springfield Cardinals (Double-A St. Louis) tomorrow night - Friday, April 19 - with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Tomorrow night's game is a Fireworks Friday presented by SeaPak with gates opening to the public at 6:00 p.m. The Naturals will send RHP Conner Greene (1-0, 2.12 ERA) to the bump while the Cardinals will counter with RHP Anthony Shew (0-1, 3.00 ERA). Catch all 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.
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, group outing opportunities, and more, please visit NWANaturals.com, and follow us on Twitter @NWANaturals and Facebook.com/Naturals.
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