Little Rock, Ark. - Alex Yarbrough hit his first two home runs for the Arkansas Travelers leading the way to a 9-2 victory over the Northwest Arkansas Naturals at Dickey-Stephens Park on Thursday night. Yarbrough, the Texas League leader with 48 base hits, drove in six runs and added three more hits to his total as the Travs took the final two games of a rain-shortened three-game series.
Yarbrough became the first Traveler to hit two home runs in a game since Randal Grichuk on August 23 at Tulsa. It had been nearly three years since Luis Jimenez was the last Traveler to hit two home runs in a game at Dickey-Stephens Park on June 14, 2011.
Kramer Sneed (4-3) tied for second in the league in wins although he allowed a run in each of his first two innings. Sneed left six runners in his five innings and scattered five hits while being charged with two runs, one of which was earned.
The Naturals grabbed the lead in the first inning against Sneed, who walked Lane Adams with one out. Adams stole second and scored when Cheslor Cuthbert hit an RBI single with two outs.
The Travs came right back at Sam Selman in the bottom of the first inning as Adam Melker walked and Yarbrough followed with a single to put runners at first and third. With Yarbrough put in motion on a 2-1 count, Brian Hernandez lashed a double to left-center field knocking in both runners for a 2-1 Travs lead.
Melker reached base four times on Thusday with two hits including a double and two walks.
Sneed was charged with an unearned run in the second inning when Yarbrough dropped a throw at second base that would have resulted in the third out.
With the game tied, 2-2, Vance Albitz walked to begin the second inning and advanced to second base on a passed ball when the Naturals battery of Sam Selman and Juan Graterol miscommunicated their signs. Melker took his second walk of the night putting two men on base. On strike three to Yarbrough, Albitz and Melker took off for the next base. Graterol threw wildly to third base and Albitz trotted home for a 3-2 Travs lead.
Sneed finished his five innings with just one more pressure packed inning leaving bases loaded in the fourth with a strikeout of Adams. Sneed struck out four batters and allowed just two walks.
The Travs lead extended in the fourth inning when Yarbrough faced Selman after Zach Zaneski hit a leadoff double followed by a bunt single from Melker. He wasted no time in ripped the first pitch over the left-field wall for a 6-2 Travs lead. The home run was Yarbrough's first at the Double-A level.
Sneed gave way to the Travs bullpen in the sixth inning and was replaced by Sean Burnett, who struck out the side in one shutout frame. Daniel Reynolds had a perfect Travs debut over two innings adding two strikeouts.
Yarbrough put the capper on the night when he drilled another three-run homer in the eighth inning off Noel Arguelles.
Kevin Johnson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth inning.
Time of game was 3:12 and the paid attendance was 5,303.
The Travs visit the Springfield Cardinals on Friday evening to begin a four-game series at Hammons Field. Drew Rucinski (3-2, 3.03) takes the hill for the Travs against Cardinals righty Kurt Heyer (2-2, 4.74) at 7:10 p.m.