SPRINGFIELD, MO - The Arkansas Travelers kept rolling with a 4-1 victory against the Springfield Cardinals on Friday night at Hammons Field. Alex Yarbrough led the way with three base hits and two RBI, while Eric Stamets had a hand in three of four double plays turned for a new team high. Drew Rucinski also tied for the Texas League lead with his tenth win throwing six effective innings.
The Travs jumped out early against Kurt Heyer to load the bases on consecutive singles by Maiko Gonzalez, Yarbrough and Brian Hernandez. A line drive hit by Mike Bianucci turned into a sacrifice fly that scored Gonzalez for a 1-0 lead. Heyer got out of the inning when Matt Long grounded into a double play.
Stamets led off the third with a bloop single to left field and moved to second on Heyer's only wild pitch of the night. When Jonathan Rodriguez made a diving stop of a hard grounder hit by Gonzalez, Stamets advanced to third base where he scored from on a line drive base hit by Yarbrough for a 2-0 lead.
Rucinski had double plays turned in each of the first two innings. With Charlie Tilson at second and Rodriguez at first base, Rucinski struck out Cody Stanley as Anderson De La Rosa pegged Tilson attempting to steal third base.
Following a one-out single by Patrick Wisdom in Springfield's second inning, Hernandez grabbed a hard grounder hit by Rafael Ortega and took it to first base before throwing to Stamets at second for a tag out of Wisdom.
Rucinski got his third double play in odd fashion in the fourth inning. Following a walk and an infield single, Breyvic Valera hit a low line drive that Stamets had pop out of his glove and roll towards second base. Stamets tagged Jonathon Rodriguez as he returned to second and stepped on second base to force out Cody Stanley. He nearly recorded a triple play, but Valera beat the throw to first base. Wisdom followed with a double to send Valera to third base where he scored from on a dropped third strike. Rucinski finished the inning by striking out Alex Mejia for the third out with a 2-1 lead.
Heyer went on to complete seven innings with just six hits allowed and two runs, but suffered the loss to drop to 3-10 tying him for the league lead in losses.
Rucinski had no easy innings during his six frames, but was charged with just one unearned run and seven hits. Drew's victory tied him for the league lead at 10-4. He struck out four batters and walked three. Rucinski is 7-0 in his last 10 starts with a 2.35 ERA.
An error by Wisdom on a hard grounder hit by Stamets in the eighth inning opened the door for Yarbrough to increase the lead to 3-1 with a triple off the center field wall. Yarbrough leap-frogged over Midland's Dusty Coleman for the league lead in RBIs with 61.
Danny Reynolds pitched a perfect inning of relief in the seventh inning, but walked Rodriguez to begin the eighth. Stanley followed with a single to put the tying runs on base. Valera tried to bunt, but hit a short pop up that Reynolds slid to catch then fired to second base to complete the Travs' fourth double play. Still, Reynolds walked the Wisdom to put the tying run on base again and needed Jairo Diaz to strike out Rafael Ortega to retire the side.
Bianucci connected on a home run (9) on the first pitch of the ninth inning by Jeremy Berg to cap the scoring with a 4-1 Travs lead.
Cam Bedrosian locked down the game with three strikeouts in the ninth inning against one base hit to save his 15th win.
The Travs now hold a second-half record of 23-18 for a three-game lead over Northwest Arkansas in the North Division standings. Their overall record sits at 57-54, their best mark since April 12.
Time of game was 2:57 and the paid attendance was 5,703.
With Saturday's scheduled starter, Michael Roth, promoted to the Major Leagues the Travs will have Buddy Boshers (0-3, 3.26) take the mound on Saturday against Springfield's Kyle Hald (8-3, 3.75). First pitch is set for 6:10 p.m.