The RockHounds' new field manager is Aaron Nieckula (nih-KOO-luh), and his nickname is "Nuke." In the first game of Aaron's Double-A managerial career, you might say Aaron's team "Nuked" the opposition, defeating the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, 11-0.
Northwest Arkansas threatened early and had taken apparent 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly in the second inning. The RockHounds appealed the play, saying base runner Yem Prades had left third base too early. The appeal was upheld and, from that play on, the game belonged to the 'Hounds.
With the bases empty and two outs in the third, D'Arby Myers reached on an error, followed by walks to Miles Head and Jeremy Barfield. Jefry Marte and Anthony Aliotti followed with back-to-back two-run doubles, and the 'hounds took a 4-0 lead.
Dusty Coleman's RBI single made it 5-0 in the fifth, and the RockHounds then put the game away, scoring five times in the seventh. Northwest Arkansas pitchers issued four consecutive walks and Chad Oberacker followed with a bases-clearing, three-run double.
RockHounds starter Murphy Smith opened the game with back-to-back walks and allowed the leadoff batter to reach in the first three innings, but escaped each time. After a lead-off infield single in the third, Smith retired the last nine men he faced, allowing just two hits over f5.0 innings.
Relievers Darren Byrd, Carlos Fisher, and Jeff Byrd combined to allow just one hit (another infield single, this one in the ninth), striking out five and walking none. At one point, Smith and Byrd combined to retire 14-in-a-row. Of the last 23 Northwest Arkansas batters, only two reached base, with one of those coming on an error.
Kibbles & Bits
- Jeremy Barfield was credited with the assist on the appeal play in the second inning. It was his 39th outfield assist as a member of the RockHounds (two seasons plus one game). He has led the Texas League in outfield assists in each of the past two seasons.
- Anthony Aliotti went 2-for-2 with a two-run double and three walks, reaching base in all five trips to the plate.
- Jefry Marte 3-for-5 (plus a walk), scoring three runs and driving in two.
- Eight-of-nine RockHounds hitters scored a run and/or had at least one RBI
Line Score R H E LOB
RockHounds 11 11 1 12
NW Arkansas Naturals 0 3 2 5
WP Murphy Smith (1-0, 0.00)
LP Noel Arguelles (0-1, 0.00)
Friday, April 5 7:05 p.m. Radio at 7:00 p.m.
RockHounds at NW Arkansas
Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, Arkansas
Radio with Bob Hards on News Talk 550 KCRS
RockHounds Home Opener
Thursday, April 11 at 7:00 p.m.
vs. NW Arkansas Naturals (KC Royals Double-A Affiliate)
Tomorrow's Probable Starters
RockHounds (RH) Zach Neal (Split 2012 between Advanced-A and AA on the Marlins' farm)
NW Arkansas (RH) Jason Adam (Rated the Kansas City Royals' # 11 prospect)