For the second straight night, the Cardinals began the scoring in the 1st inning. Greg Garcia had a one out single and moved to third on a single by Jermaine Curtis. Naturals' starter Sugar Ray Marimon uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Garcia to score give the Redbirds a 1-0 lead.
Cardinals' start Seth Maness tossed two scoreless innings allowing just a hit heading into the third. He would allow four straight hits in the 3rd allowing the tying run to score on an infield single by Brian Fletcher. Paulo Orlando was then hit by a pitch to give NW Arkansas a 2-1 lead. Kevin Kouzmanoff followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-1. Manny Pina then brought home two more with a single and Mario Lisson followed with a two-run homer to make it 7-1 and knock Maness from the game. Chase Reid came in out of the bullpen to retire the 10th batter to come to the plate in the inning.
The Naturals added another run in the 4th as Whit Merrifield bounced into a double play to force in a run to bring the tally to 8-1.
The score stayed that way until the 7th when the Springfield offense woke up to score four runs. They'd get the first on a bases loaded walk by Mike O'Neill and a second with outs on an RBI single by Greg Garcia. Jermaine Curtis followed with a two-run single to make the score 8-5.
In the 8th, the Cardinals loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a single before Kolten Wong cleared the bases with a double to tie the game 8-8.
Into the 9th with the score still knotted, Eric Fornataro allowed an infield single to Michael Liberto before Yem Prades laid down a sacrifice bunt that Fornataro throw down the right field line to put runners at second and third with no outs. Whit Merrifield followed with a game winning single to center field to give the Naturals a 9-8 victory.
Springfield will continue their four-game series against NW Arkansas tomorrow night at 7:05pm. The Cardinals will have Scott McGregor on the mound against Michael Mariot of the Naturals.
The Cardinals return home Saturday night for the final homestand of the regular season to play the Arkansas Travelers in a three-game series and the Tulsa Drillers for four. Great tickets are still available, so visit the Hammons Field Ticket Office, go online at springfieldcardinals.com or call (417) 863-2143.
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