SPRINGDALE, Ark. - Adam Melker provided the Arkansas Travelers with their first and only lead on Sunday with an RBI single in the 10th inning of a 4-2 victory over Northwest Arkansas. The Travs were blanked until Alex Yarbrough delivered a two-run triple to tie the game at 2-2 in the eighth and went on to win their second game in a row.
The series opener at Arvest Ballpark sailed through seven innings with Nate Smith dueling against Tim Melville. Making his first start against the Naturals, Smith retired the first ten batters but had brief control issues costing him back-to-back walks in the fourth inning. Max Ramirez loaded the bases with a single, and Smith battled back to strike out Mark Threlkeld. On the verge of escape, Smith was touched for a double off the left field wall by Juan Graterol. Edinson Rincon struck out with Smith leaving two runners on base and the Naturals leading 2-0.
Melville kept the Travs from reaching third base until Maikol Gonzalez hit a triple in the sixth inning. But Gonzalez was cut down at home plate by Ethan Chapman after he caught Melker's fly ball to medium depth left field.
Matt Murray got Melville out of the seventh inning after Brian Hernandez singled and Drew Heid walked to put the tying runs on base. However the Travs got a chance quickly in the eighth inning when Erik Komatsu hit a leadoff double followed by a walk to Eric Stamets. After a pitching change, Komatsu got picked off at second base for the first out. Still Gonzalez hit a single through the right side to move Stamets to third base. Yarbrough swatted his third triple of the year off the right field wall knocking home the tying runs.
Smith left the game after six innings with two runs charged on three hits and three walks. Smith struck out six batters in his fifth start with Arkansas. Carmine Giardina pitched around an error for one inning. Danny Reynolds (1-1) fired two frames to send the ballgame to extras.
Stamets reached base to begin the tenth inning with his third walk of the night. With the Naturals infield playing for a bunt, Gonzalez slugged a single past third base sending Stamets across the infield setting up Melker with runners at the corners. He went after the first pitch and bounced a single off Justin Trapp's mitt into right field scoring Stamets. Gonzalez scored on a sacrifice fly by Heid.
Handed a two-run lead, David Carpenter completed a perfect tenth inning to save the win for Reynolds.
Time of game was 3:26 and the paid attendance was 5,709.
The second game of the series is set for 7:05 p.m. on Monday night. Kramer Sneed (4-5, 3.38) is set to pitch for the Travs while the Naturals counter with J.C. Sulburan (3-5, 3.39).