The Midland RockHounds grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Tyler Ladendorf worked a walk and moved to second on a single by Anthony Alliotti. David Freitas came through with an RBI single to give the RockHounds the lead. Jeremy Barfield blasted a solo home run, his tenth of the season, to make it a 2-0 game.
Dusty Coleman delivered an RBI double in the top of the fourth inning to push the RockHounds lead to 3-0. The Naturals offense got on the board in the bottom half of the inning. Carlo Testa ripped an RBI single to right field to cut the lead 3-1. Matt Rizzotti go the run back for the RockHounds in the top of the fifth with an RBI single.
Michael Mariot went four innings for the Naturals allowing nine hits and four runs, walking two and striking out one. Mariot has now worked 102.0 innings, setting a new career high for innings in a season. His previous high was 100.1 innings in 2011 with the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Merrifield collected his first hit in Double-A in the bottom of the fifth inning blasting a solo home run to left-field to make it a 4-2 game.
Sonny Gray got the start for the RockHounds and was brilliant going seven innings allowing seven hits and just two runs. Gray walked two and struck out three. The Naturals offense inched within a run, getting an RBI single from Manny Pina in the bottom of the eighth inning. Pina later scored when Testa reached on an error to tie the game at four.
Merrifield ripped a one-out double in the ninth inning to start a Naturals' rally. Paulo Orlando was intentionally walked, and Kevin Kouzmanoff followed with a fly ball to deep right field that allowed both runners to advance. Pina came through again with a single to center field to score Merrifield and give the Naturals the 5-4 walk-off win.
Ryan Dennick (6-4) worked three innings allowing just one hit and striking out four to earn his sixth victory of the season. The sixth victory gives Dennick the team lead in wins. Brett Hunter (2-2) worked two-thirds of an inning allowing one run, and took the loss for the RockHounds.
The Naturals will continue their three-game series against the Midland RockHounds on Thursday night at 7:05 PM. The Naturals will send left-hander Mike Montgomery (2-2, 5.40) against the RockHounds left-hander Carlos Hernandez (4-4, 5.64). The game can be heard on ESPN 92.1 The Ticket.