Midland, Texas - One night after scoring 20 runs the Arkansas Travelers were blanked on six base hits in a 6-0 loss to the Midland RockHounds on Friday night at Security Bank Ballpark. Zach Neal and two relievers combined on the shutout while Addison Russell (1) and Miles Head (1) each hit a home run.
Neal (1-0) struck out six batters and kept the Travs off balance throughout his five innings. He allowed just three singles and no walks to defeat Travs lefty Michael Roth (0-1), who was touched for six runs in four innings.
Second baseman Alex Yarbrough and shortstop Eric Stamets each collected two base hits for the Travs, who also left eight runners on base.
The RockHounds wasted no time getting to Roth in the first inning as D'Arby Myers hit a one-out double that was followed by Russell's two-run homer on the first pitch. Russell lined his dinger over the left field fence for a 2-0 Midland lead. Max Muncy then singled and Roth walked Josh Whitaker before allowing an RBI single by Jefry Marte.
Roth walked Muncy and Marte in the third inning before serving up a one-pitch home run to Head that cleared the Travs' bullpen in left field to give the RockHounds a 6-0 lead.
Chances to score came from the sixth through the eighth innings for the Travs, but they could never capitalize. An error and a single by Yarbrough opened the door in the sixth inning against Midland lefty Jeff Urlaub. However he struck out Kaleb Cowart and got Zach Borenstein to bounce into a double play.
With two outs in the top of the seventh Urlaub walked Drew Heid and Stamets beat out a high chopper for a single. Both runners were stranded when Shawn O'Malley flied to right field.
Jesus Castillo pitched around a Kyle Hudson double and a walk to Cowart in the eighth inning then retired the Travs in order in the ninth to close the game.
The Travs did receive strong relief pitching for the second night in a row with Kevin Johnson leading with two no-hit innings. R.J. Alvarez fired a scoreless inning with two strikeouts, and Mike Morin struck out the side in his only inning.
Time of game was 2:51 and the attendance was 3,943.
The rubber match of this three-game series is set for Saturday night in Midland with Drew Rucinski making his Double-A debut for the Travs. The RockHounds counter with Tanner Peters with first pitch set for 7:00 p.m.