NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark-Yordano Ventura struck out nine and retired 13 straight batters, but a trio of first inning doubles resulted in the only runs of the game as the Arkansas Travelers defeated the Northwest Arkansas Naturals 2-0 on Thursday night. With the win, the Travelers complete the four-game sweep of the Naturals, who have lost five games in a row.
Ventura struck out the first two Travelers he faced in the first inning before allowing a two-out double to C.J. Cron. Robbie Widlansky followed with a double to left field, scoring Cron. Randal Grichuk continued the doubles parade with the third straight hit to left, bringing Widlansky home.
With two outs in the second inning, Ventura hit Travs catcher Jett Bandy with a pitch. Bandy would be the last Traveler to reach base with Ventura in the game, as he struck out seven batters from that point and only allowed one ball out of the infield, a flyout by Grichuk in the fourth inning.
After being activated from the Disabled List earlier in the day, Brett Eibner went one-for-four with a single in his first action since April 27. The Naturals were held to three singles, with Rey Navarro and Angel Franco reaching base in the first and ninth innings.
Travelers starter Matt Oye allowed two hits with one walk and six strikeouts in seven shutout innings. Kevin Johnson followed Oye with two shutout innings, allowing one hit while earning his eighth save of the year.
Ventura takes his first loss of the season, allowing two runs on three hits with nine strikeouts and no free passes in six innings. Buddy Baumann and Andy Ferguson each threw a scoreless inning in relief.
The Naturals begin a four-game series with the Tulsa Drillers at 7:05 p.m. in Tulsa before playing the final three games of the series at Arvest Ballpark beginning Saturday. Noel Arguelles (1-6, 6.16 ERA) gets the start tomorrow for the Naturals. Tim Gustafson (1-3. 6.40 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Drillers.