Naturals Take Series with 4-3 Triumph
SPRINGDALE, Ark - Looking for back-to-back series wins at home, Northwest Arkansas got six strong innings out of right-hander Jace Vines as the Naturals (19-23) take the series with a 4-3 triumph over the Springfield Cardinals (18-25) at Arvest Ballpark.
Vines (W, 2-4) entered Sunday afternoon's game having struggled in his two most recent starts; however, that would not be the case in the series finale against Springfield as the Texas-native was sharp through his 6.0 innings of work. The 24 year-old gave up just a run on six hits while striking out three as he picked up his second win of the season and first at Arvest Ballpark in 2019.
The offense did their part to back their starter by immediately responding with three-runs after falling behind 1-0 in the fourth. Northwest Arkansas used some two-out offense to take the lead as Anderson Miller and Taylor Featherston started the rally with back-to-back singles to set the table. Up stepped Xavier Fernandez and he deposited the first pitch he saw from Springfield's Austin Warner (L, 2-3) for a towering three-run home run to left field, which gave the Naturals the 3-1 advantage.
The Naturals would extend their lead in the sixth as Gabriel Cancel led off the frame with his eighth home run of the season.
From there on, reliever J.C. Cloney (S, 1) did the rest by working the final 3.0 innings of the game. The lefty from the University of Arizona allowed two runs on four hits but was able to coax a key double-play ball in the ninth to secure the series victory.
Springfield scored their first two runs via the long ball as Elehuris Montero hit a solo home run in the fourth and Dylan Carlson did the same in the seventh. Then in the ninth, Alberto Triunfel picked up his first RBI of the year with a run-scoring single.
The Naturals were out-hit by a 10-to7 margin but got some big hits when it counted from Fernandez and Cancel. They also welcomed D.J. Burt back to the lineup and he made his presence felt with a triple and a few nice running catches in left field.
The victory today gave the Naturals their fourth series win of the season, all of which have come at Arvest Ballpark. Northwest Arkansas finishes their 7-game homestand with a 6-1 record after sweeping Tulsa and taking 3-of-4 from the Redbirds.
The Naturals will now hits the road for seven straight as the Naturals will head down to North Little Rock tomorrow for a 3-game set against the Arkansas Travelers before closing out the trip with a 4-game series against the Drillers in Tulsa.
Catch all the live play-by-play action from Dickey-Stephens Park on Monday night with the Voice of the Naturals Benjamin Kelly on KQSM - 92.1 The Ticket starting at 6:50 p.m. for the Indigo Sky Casino Pregame Show leading to first pitch at 7:10 p.m. of a terrific pitching matchup between the Naturals' Arnaldo Hernandez (2-0, 0.00 ERA) and the Travs' Justin Dunn (3-2, 3.51 ERA).
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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