Monday night from Citibank Ballpark in Midland, the Arkansas Travelers took on the RockHounds in search of their first series sweep of the season. Despite holding a 4-3 edge after five innings the Travs bullpen could not hang on and allowed three unanswered runs, as the 'Hounds salvaged the finale 6-4.
The Travs started quickly in the first against Midland RH Zach Neal, when OF Matt Long hit his second homer of the season to make it 1-0 Arkansas.
The Travs followed Long's blast by stringing together three consecutive two out singles. The last single of the three was hit by Randal Grichuk and it appeared it would score CJ Cron from 2nd. However, Robbie Widlansky's aggressive turn around 2nd allowed for Midland CF Jake Goebbert to throw to 2nd and catch Widlansky slow getting back to the bag to end the inning.
Facing Travs RH Jarrett Grube, the RockHound offensive attack came to life in the second inning. After Goebbert began the inning with a single, Jeremy Barfield laced his second homer of the season to give the 'Hounds their first lead of the series.
Midland tacked on another run in the fourth inning with again Barfield coming home, this time on a sacrifice fly by Darwin Perez.
Seemingly in control of the game ahead 3-1, the RockHounds defensive struggles again came to the forefront. In the fifth inning the 'Hounds committed three errors, giving them ten for the series, and ultimately allowed the Travs to retake the lead with three runs scoring.
Grube exited after five innings, leaving it up to the bullpen to pick up the final 12 outs, with the hopes of earning his third victory in as many starts on the season. However, Daniel Tillman walked three and uncorked a wild pitch to Perez that allowed Goebbert to come home and tie the game.
In the seventh Midland built on their newly established momentum when Dusty Coleman led off the frame with a double against Travs RH Caleb Graham. After a strikeout of Anthony Aliotti, another wild pitch by the Travs 'pen moved the go-ahead run to third.
Graham forced a fly out of Jefry Marte to right field that was not deep enough to give Midland the lead, but with two outs Miles Head smashed a ground rule double to right that broke the tie score and put Midland ahead 5-4.
Midland added another run in the inning on a single by Goebbert off Travs LH Buddy Boshers to make the score 6-4.
Midland kept the Travs from any thoughts of a rally when Neal combined with relievers Paul Smyth and Kyler Newby to retire the final 14 hitters hitters that came to the plate.
Smyth earned the victory by pitching three perfect innings in relief. Newby recorded his first save of the season to help the RockHounds avoid the sweep.
The home run in the first inning for Long extended his hitting streak to seven games. Long has recorded a hit in 11 of 12 contests to begin the season and has driven in a Texas League best 13 runs.
CJ Cron led the Travs with two hits.
After a day off on Wednesday, the Travs return to action Thursday night when they begin a four game series at Dickey-Stephens Park against division rival Springfield. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10, with Manny Correa taking the ball for the Travs against Springfield's Anthony Ferrara.
Coverage begins at 6:45 with the Travs Dugout Show. The broadcast can be heard locally on Sports Animal 920 or through the iHeart radio mobile application.