The Cards and Travelers met in the third of 28 games scheduled this season between the two clubs, with Arkansas leading the series 2-0. Springfield was 12-16 against Arkansas last year, 7-7 at home, winning just two of the six series between the two teams.
Starting pitcher, Stuart Pomeranz made his first appearance of the season against James Holcomb, right-hander for Arkansas, also making his season debut. Pomeranz pitched 18 games for the Cardinals last year splitting his time between Palm Beach and Springfield. With Springfield he was 5-6 with an ERA of 5.29. Pomeranz is rated as the Cardinals tenth-best prospect for 2006 by "Baseball America." The 6'7" right-hander, drafted in the second round of the 2003 draft, went six innings, allowing just one run on five hits. The only run that he allowed came in the sixth, as Brandon Wood's two-out double drove in Aaron Peel, who reached on a two-out infield single. Pomeranz, now 0-1, was the winning pitcher.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Cards took advantage of the wind and some shady defense. With one out, Rico Washington and Brian Martin singled, putting runners at first and second. After a Cody Haerther fly ball to center put runners at first and third, Jarrett Hoffpauir came to the plate. Arkansas starter James Holcomb (0-1) looked as if he'd get out of the inning, as Hoffpauir popped it up down the right field line. The wind took the ball away from second baseman Casey Smith however, and the ball ended up going in and out of Smith's glove. Two runs scored to make it 2-1, as Hoffpauir ended up at third on the error.
Springfield took advantage of more Arkansas mistakes later on, adding a run in the eighth to go up 3-1. Rico Washington doubled and later scored from third on a two-out wild pitch by Tim Bittner.
Mark Worrell came on in the ninth for the Cards, but struggled to hold on to the lead. Matt Brown singled to open the inning and then moved to third on an error by right fielder Nick Stavinoha. Jason Aspito's single made it 3-2 and put the tying run at first base. After a Bobby Wilson sacrifice, Mike Eylward singled to put runners at the corners with one out. The very next batter, David Gates, apparently missed a squeeze sign, costing the Travelers a golden opportunity to tie. With the count 0-1, Jason Aspito broke from third, but Gates took the pitch looking for strike two. Cards catcher Iker Franco then charged towards third and eventually tagged out Aspito for the second out. Gates promptly struck out swinging, ending the game and giving Worrell his first save of the year.
Rich Scalamandre and Cory Doyne both tossed a scoreless inning out of the Cards bullpen. Dan Moylan led the way offensively for the Redbirds, going 3-3. Rico Washington had his third straight multi-hit game, going 2-4.
With the win, the Cards go to 1-2, while the Travs fall to 2-1. Sunday afternoon at 2:10 p.m., the Cardinals and Travelers will wrap up their four-game set at Hammons Field. Mike Parisi and Chris Hunter will both make their 2006 debuts for their respective ball clubs.
You can write John Brayfield at firstname.lastname@example.org.