Springdale, AR - The Northwest Arkansas Naturals topped the Springfield Cardinals, 7-5, before 5,658 fans at Arvest Ballpark on Friday night. CF Adam Melker and RF James Ramsey both collected a home run and three hits to help pace the Cardinals offense.
Springfield (14-14, 47-49) swung in front first in the top of the second inning against RHP Aaron Brooks (W, 4-3). C Cody Stanley led off with a double, before taking third base on a ground out by SS Luis Mateo. Melker followed with an RBI single chopped through the left side of the infield, scoring Stanley for the 1-0 advantage.
After the Naturals (15-13, 40-58) tied it with an RBI double by LF Roman Hernandez in the bottom of the third, the Cards moved back in front in the top of the fourth. With two on and one away, Melker ripped a base hit to right field to load the bases. 2B Vance Albitz brought in 1B Xavier Scruggs from third base with an RBI sacrifice fly to right field, lifting Springfield back in front, 2-1.
Northwest Arkansas responded in the bottom of the fourth inning against LHP Jonathan Cornelius (L, 2-4). 1B Matt Fields tied it with a solo home run to start the inning, before a walk by RF Lane Adams. After a sacrifice bunt moved Adams to second base, 2B Whit Merrifield moved him to third with a single. Hernandez laid down an RBI bunt single, bringing in Adams for the 3-2 advantage.
The Cardinals tied the game in the top of the fifth with a solo shot by Ramsey to start the frame, but the Naturals came back with four runs in the bottom of the inning. With two on and no outs, 3B Rey Navarro drove a two-run double to left field, opening a 5-3 lead. Later in the frame, RBI singles by Adams and Hernandez stretched the lead to 7-3.
Springfield started chipping away with a solo home run by Melker in the top of the sixth, before striking again in the ninth. With one down in the final frame, DH Chris Swauger singled himself on, before moving to second base on a balk called on RHP Santiago Garrido (S, 2). After a strikeout, Stanley skied a pop up to SS Orlando Calixte, but Calixte dropped the catch to enable Swauger to score and the game to continue. However, Garrido came back with a strikeout to close the 7-5 win for the Naturals.
Click here for the complete box score from Friday's game.
The Cardinals continue the road series on Saturday in Northwest Arkansas with a 6 p.m. First Pitch. Catch all the action live on Jock 98.7FM and SpringfieldCardinals.com, and tune in 15 minutes early for the Coyote's Sports Cafe Pregame Show.
Springfield then returns home for a seven-game homestand starting on Monday with a 7:09pm First Pitch against the Tulsa Drillers. Click below to view all of the upcoming great promotions at Hammons Field and to get your tickets right now.
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