The Redbirds (11-7) begin a 12-game road trip, starting with four at Nashville (5-12).
Thursday's game: at Nashville (MIL), 7:05 pm CT, Tyler Lyons (2-1, 4.26)
Northwest Arkansas 10 at Springfield 3 (7) – game two
Wednesday's double-header was comprised of polar opposites in pitching and offense for the S-Cards (10-9). The home squad easily handled the Naturals 8-1 in game one but was trounced 10-3 in the second contest.
Starter Carlos Martinez got things off on the right foot by holding the visitors to a single tally, earned, on four hits through four. Two of the four hits were consecutive doubles in the second that drove in Northwest Arkansas's only run. Martinez' second start of 2013 improved upon his first one. The righty extended his time on the bump from 2 2/3 to four innings while yielding identical hit and run totals. Martinez increased his strikeout numbers from none to four and he did not issue a free pass either start. The 21-year-old's pitch count went from 44 to 60, 39 for strikes. He did hit a batter.
Anthony Ferrara (W, 2-1) took over in the fifth with his team up 3-1. The lefty held that lead through 1 2/3 frames despite giving up a double and two base-on-balls. He plunked a batter as well. Deryk Hooker earned his first save of the season when he notched the final out in the sixth with the sacks jammed. Two runners were already in place when Hooker came in and he promptly upped the stakes by yielding a single to load them up. The right-hander induced a bunt ground out back to him to escape. Hooker finished with a scoreless seventh, although he gave up another single.
Springfield busted the game wide open with a five-run sixth that featured three home runs. Starlin Rodriguez led off with his second long ball before Jake Lemmerman followed with a two-run shot that plated Audry Perez (double). Mike O'Neill worked his second free pass of the game just in front of Tommy Pham's third bomb of 2013.
Our co-Players of the Day, Pham and Rodriguez, each had three hits with two singles to go with their home run. Pham touched home once with two RBI while Rodriguez was a perfect 3-for-3 with two runs scored and one driven in. Lead-off batter O'Neill singled once in two at bats with two base-on-balls and two runs scored. Ruben Gotay had a bases-loaded single that brought two across in the third
Game two fizzled right from the start when Boone Whiting (L, 2-1) coughed up a three-run bomb that capped five-run first. Whiting allowed seven tallies, four earned, on four hits and two walks over three while striking out five. Dean Kiekhefer retired six of the first seven he faced before giving up three runs on four straight hits to open the sixth.
Justin Wright inherited runners at the corners with none out and two already in and did his best to minimize the damage. Wright induced a 6-4-3 double-play ball that permitted a runner to cross then got a 4-3 ground out. The southpaw wiped out a lead-off single in the seventh with yet another double play for a scoreless seventh.
O'Neill scored two of his squad's three tallies, singling twice in three at bats with a base-on-balls, increasing his on-base percentage to .442. Xavier Scruggs went 2-for-3 with a single, double, two RBI and a base-on-balls.
Thursday's game: vs. Northwest Arkansas (6-13), 7:09 pm CT, Seth Blair (0-2, 9.22)
Although they officially play the next two games on the road, Palm Beach (11-8) does not need to travel to play three with Roger Dean Stadium roommate Jupiter (5-14).
Thursday's game: at Jupiter (MIA), 6:35 pm ET, Tim Cooney (2-1, 4.50)
Peoria (8-8) is in the midst of a nine-game road trip and will face Dayton (6-13) for three.
Thursday's game: at Dayton (CIN), 6:00 pm CT, Joey Cuda (1-0, 2.57)
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