Naturals Complete Four-Game Sweep of Travelers
SPRINGDALE, Ark. – Northwest Arkansas (28-12) defeated the Arkansas Travelers (21-18) on Thursday night by the score of 10-4 to complete the 4-game sweep of their in-state rival. With the victory, the Naturals improved to 8-0 on the year against Arkansas and have extended their lead in the Texas League North Division standings to 6.5 games over the second-place Travelers.
The Naturals got things started in the bottom half of the second inning against RHP Alan Busenitz (1-4, 6.63 ERA) of the Travelers as Hunter Dozier led off the frame with a single to right field. Mike Bianucci stepped to the plate with one out and Dozier on first and connected on a 1-1 pitch for a two run home run into the visiting bullpen beyond the left field wall to make it 2-0 Naturals.
Northwest Arkansas would add another run in the bottom of the third via the long ball. Raul Mondesi, the top Royals prospect according to Baseball America, led off the inning and sent a 2-1 pitch deep over the wall in right field to extend the lead to 3-0.
Arkansas would respond in the fourth with back-to-back doubles to produce a run of their own to make the score 3-1. Wade Hinkle connected on a one out double into right center field and Kentrail Davis followed with a double of his own to score Hinkle and cut into the deficit. The visiting Travelers would get another run in the top half of the fifth as Sherman Johnson, whom led off the inning with a double to right field, would come around to score on an RBI groundout by Brian Hernandez to make it a 3-2 game.
The Naturals wouldn’t let the game get any closer as they would answer with a three spot in the bottom of the fifth as Dozier would get the inning started with a one out single. Zane Evans followed with a double to centerfield that would score Dozier all the way from first base to extend the lead to 4-2. The Naturals would tack on a couple of more with some clutch two out hitting. Alex Liddi came through with an RBI single to left before Kenny Diekroeger greeted Travelers reliever Chris O’Grady with an RBI double to make it a four score game at 6-2. Diekroeger was received from Wilmington today and went 3 for 4 with an RBI and run in his Naturals debut.
The Naturals would go on to score two more runs in the bottom of the seventh on a two run double by Mondesi and then the two teams would add a run each in the bottom of the eighth and the top of the ninth respectively to set the final score at 10-4. The Naturals offense once again pounded out double-digit hits, they had 20 on the night, as Jorge Bonifacio, Hunter Dozier, Zane Evans, Alex Liddi, and Kenny Diekroeger each had three hits while Raul Mondesi went 2 for 5 with a home run, double, and three RBI.
RHP Miguel Almonte, the reigning Texas League Pitcher of the Week, made the start but did not factor in the decision as he went 4.0 innings allowing four hits, two runs, three walks, and struck out five. Sam Selman (1-0, 3.71 ERA) earned the win out of the bullpen.
The first place Naturals will welcome the Tulsa Drillers (Double-A Los Angeles Dodgers) to town on Friday, May 22 for a game that is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. Gates will open at 6:00 p.m. for the first night of The Great American Blast presented by SeaPak. The Great American Blast is a three (3) night event that will feature a trio of post-game Fireworks Spectaculars at Arvest Ballpark over Memorial Day Weekend. The Naturals will send starter RHP Luke Farrell to the mound to face LHP Jose De Leon of Tulsa.
You can catch all the live play-by-play action with the Voice of the Naturals Benjamin Kelly on your home for the Naturals on KQSM 92.1 The Ticket at 6:50 p.m. (subject to change to KFAY 1030 AM) Indigo Sky Casino Pregame Show leading up to first pitch. Even in Brasil you can get a great casino experience, even online sites can give you a great fun time.