Tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Tyler Henley led off the frame with a double to right-center field off of Fernando Rodriguez (3-1). After a sac bunt by Aaron Luna moved Henley to third base, pinch-hitter Mike Folli was issued an intention walk. With runners at first and third and just one out, Kozma delivered a deep fly ball to left field. Left fielder Coby Smith retreated near the warning track to make the catch, but his throw to the plate was nowhere near in time to get Henley, who slid in safely with the game-winning run.
Both starting pitchers were sharp in what turned out to be the fastest game of the year at one hour and 57 minutes.
Cards' starter Nick Additon gave up an unearned run in the first, as Mark Trumbo brought home a run with an RBI single to make it 1-0. Additon got touched for the other run in the third, as Trumbo struck again, driving in Smith with another RBI single, giving the Travs a 2-0 advantage.
Springfield finally gave Additon some offensive support in the sixth, reaching Arkansas starter Amalio Diaz for a run, when Joe Mather ripped a solo homer to left field, making it 2-1.
Diaz left after seven innings, handing the ball to Travs' reliever Bobby Cassevah, who couldn't hold the lead in the eighth. Daryl Jones started the inning with a single and eventually scored on an RBI single by Jim Rapoport, evening the game at 2-2.
In the ninth, Casey Mulligan (3-0) took over for Additon, then pitched around a fielding error for a scoreless ninth and the eventual win.
The Cards finish the regular season with a record of 71-69 and a second-half record of 33-37. Springfield will open the 2009 Texas League Playoffs on Wednesday, taking on the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in game one of the best-of-five North Division Finals. Trey Hearne (12-3) will take on Anthony Lerew (10-6). Game time on Wednesday is 7:10pm and gates open at 6:10pm. Tickets are available for Wednesday and Thursday Playoff Action at Hammons Field, by calling (417) 863-2143. We hope to see you at Hammons Field as the Springfield Cardinals look for their first Texas League Championship in franchise history. Escape to Cardinals Baseball...Go Cards!