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Travs break even on homestand, go for five in three days at NWA

June 11, 2009 - Texas League (TL) - Arkansas Travelers News Release

The Arkansas Travelers won the first two games of last week's homestand but dropped three of the last four to finish .500 for the week, taking two of three from Corpus Christi but only beating San Antonio once in three games.

The Travs (23-32) are 8.5 games behind division-leading Springfield, with Tulsa 3.0 games back and Northwest Arkansas 4.5 back. After the Travelers' scheduled day off Tuesday and weather postponement Wednesday, they will play 21 games in 19 days against North Division teams to close out the first half of the season.

In seven games in June, Arkansas has a team batting average of .255 and team ERA of 2.03, its highest batting average and lowest ERA of any month this season, but is still only 3-4 since June 1.

Nate Sutton was the hottest hitter for the Travs last week, picking up a hit in every game of the homestand and multiple hits in five of the games. Sutton batted 11-for-25 (.440), but the rest of the Arkansas offense struggled - despite Sutton's 11 hits (including two doubles) and a pair of stolen bases, he did not score a single run. As a team, the Travelers are batting .242 this season with runners in scoring position, and just .226 with runners at second or third and two outs.

Jordan Walden (1-2) had the most dominant pitching performance of the homestand, striking out nine batters in just five innings against the Corpus Christi Hooks to earn his first win of the season. Walden only allowed one run on three hits in the Travs' 6-1 win. Arkansas's 3.28 team ERA for the season is 0.73 runs less than the second-best team, but Traveler pitchers have received the least run support of any team in the league (3.93 runs per game).

The Travs did put it all together in one game last week, Walden's June 4 start against the Hooks. Arkansas's bullpen threw four innings of scoreless relief, allowing just three hits. The Traveler offense scored six runs, doing the little things - the leadoff man and nine-hole hitter both stole bases - and the big things - the third and fourth hitters in the lineup combined for three hits, including a home run. Despite grounding into four double plays, Arkansas batted 3-for-7 with runners in scoring position to build a 6-1 margin of victory.

The Travelers are 6-5 against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in 2009, one of two Texas League teams that Arkansas has a winning record against (5-1 vs. Corpus Christi). The Travs and Naturals will play five games in three days because of a rainout yesterday and one earlier in the season. The action starts Thursday at 5:05 p.m., with a pair of 7-inning doubleheaders. The second games will begin after a brief intermission, and the cross-state rivals will play another doubleheader on Friday before a single game Saturday. Then the Travs will return to North Little Rock for an 8-game homestand, hosting Springfield and Tulsa.

Pitching probables vs. Northwest Arkansas:

Thursday (Game 1), 5:05 p.m. - RHP Jordan Walden (2-1, 5.76 ERA) vs. RHP Blake Wood (2-4, 6.10)

Thursday (Game 2) - LHP Barret Browning (0-3, 2.51) vs. TBD

Friday (Game 1), 5:05 p.m. - LHP Trevor Reckling (3-1, 1.90) vs. TBD

Friday (Game 2) - RHP Amalio Diaz (1-3, 5.66) vs. TBD

Saturday, 7 p.m. - LHP Michael Anton (1-5, 3.67) vs. TBD

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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