SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Northwest Arkansas Naturals (34-55/9-10) dropped the opening game a four-game series by a final of 4-1 to the Springfield Cardinals (42-27/8-11) on Wednesday, July 9 at Hammons Field. Naturals centerfielder Ethan Chapman drove in the lone run in the fifth inning for the Naturals.
Chapman came to bat with two outs and Juan Graterol at third and roped a 0-1 pitch down the right field line past the diving first baseman Jonathan Rodriguez to plate the lone tally of the contest for Northwest Arkansas ending up on third base with his first triple of the season.
Kansas City Royals prospects No. 7 Hunter Dozier and No. 14 Cheslor Cuthbert each tallied two hits in the loss. Cuthbert racked up a second inning double, his 14th of the year. Dozier now has multi-hit games in six of his first 17 games as a Natural.
Naturals starter RHP Andy Ferguson (6-7, 3.45) tossed six strong innings while striking out four; but fell victim to the long-ball as Springfield hit three home runs off of the starter in the 4-1 loss. Cody Stanley had a pair of solo home runs for the Cardinals while Rafael Ortega added a two-run home run in the three-run Springfield third.
LHP Sam Selman made his second relief appearance of his professional career - first since his professional debut on June 20, 2012 with the Rookie-Level Idaho Falls Chukars - and tossed one scoreless frame and racked up a strike out. RHP Matt Murray extended his scoreless inning streak to seven innings (three appearance) by retiring the side in order in the bottom of the eighth.
Royals outfielder and current rehabber Nori Aoki played in his second game with Northwest Arkansas in right field and was hitless in four trips to the plate.
The Naturals and the Cardinals will play game two of the four-game series on Thursday, July 10 with RHP Christian Binford (1-0, 3.86) to make his second start for the Naturals against RHP Kurt Heyer (3-6, 4.90) for the Cardinals.
You can catch all live play-by-play action for the game with the Voice of the Naturals Benjamin Kelly on your home for the Naturals 92.1 the Ticket for a 6:55p.m. Indigo Sky Casino Pregame Show leading up to the 7:10p.m. first pitch from Hammons Field.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League Affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The Naturals play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, Ark. For more information including statistics, ticket options, and more, please visit NWANaturals.com, and follow us on Twitter @NWANaturals and Facebook.com/Naturals.