SPRINGDALE, Ark. – Northwest Arkansas (25-12) defeated the Arkansas Travelers (21-15) on Monday evening by the score of 3-2 in 10 innings to earn their second consecutive, and 12th in franchise history, walk off victory. Angel Franco delivered the game-winning hit, an infield single with one out, to score Terrence Gore as the Naturals took game one of the four game series.
The Naturals got things started in the bottom half of the second inning against RHP Kyle McGowin (3-2, 6.19 ERA) of the Travelers as Micah Gibbs put the Naturals on the board with a one out solo home run, his first of the year, to give the Naturals an early 1-0 lead. Balbino Fuenmayor extended the lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the third inning when he hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Raul Mondesi. Mondesi, the Royals top rated prospect, finished the game going 3 for 4 with a run scored and a stolen base.
The Travelers would rally in the top half of the fifth inning to tie the game 2-2 off a one out triple by Jared Mitchell to score D’Arby Myers and Anthony Bemboom, both of whom had singled in advance of Mitchell’s at bat.
The game remained a pitcher’s duel until the 10th inning when Alex Liddi led off the frame with a double to right field. Micah Gibbs sent Terrance Gore, who pinch ran for Liddi, to third with a sacrifice bunt to set up Angel Franco for the game-winning infield single.
Arkansas RHP Michael Brady (0-2 2.95 ERA), who received the loss after working 1.1 innings while giving up one run on two hits.
RHP Mark Peterson (3-0 2.55 ERA) received the win after working three innings while giving up one hit, no runs, no walks, and two strikeouts. Peterson relieved starter RHP Christian Binford, who was making his first start for the Naturals since being assigned to Northwest Arkansas on May 13 from Triple-A Omaha. The 2014 Kansas City Royals Minor League Pitcher of the Year went 7.0 innings and allowed two earned runs on eight hits, no walks, and struck out five Travelers.
The in-state series with the Arkansas Travelers (Double-A Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) continues tomorrow night with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Arvest Ballpark. Tuesday, May 19 is an Arvest Two for Tuesday with Johnsonville Buck-A-Brats. The Naturals will send LHP Jonathan Dziedzic (1-2, 3.38 ERA) to the mound to face RHP Albert Suarez (3-3, 2.57 ERA) of the Travelers.
You can catch all the live play-by-play action with the Voice of the Naturals Benjamin Kelly on your home for Naturals baseball on AM-1030 KFAY at 6:50 p.m. for the Indigo Sky Casino Pregame Show leading up to first pitch against the Travelers.
Follow the Northwest Arkansas Naturals on Twitter @nwanaturals all throughout the year by using the hashtag #NaturalPastime for all of our up-to-date information on tickets, groups, promotions, roster, and team information.