Springdale, AR - The Arkansas Travelers and Northwest Arkansas Naturals split a doubleheader on Tuesday at Arvest Ballpark. The Naturals won game one 5-1, and the Travelers took game two 8-1 thanks to a seven-run third inning.
Northwest Arkansas jumped on the board in the third inning thanks to C Parker Morin's first home run of the season. The home run was Morin's 10th of his career.
The two teams battled into the sixth with the score still 1-0, but two two-run home runs extended the Naturals' lead to 5-0 through six innings. 1B Balbino Fuenmayor launched his 11th of the season (fourth against the Travs) and former Trav DH Mike Bianucci blasted his team-leading 12th of the season off Travs starter RHP Albert Suarez (L, 6-5).
Arkansas scored a run and loaded the bases in the seventh to bring the tying run to the plate, but 3B Brian Hernandez grounded out to end the game.
Suarez, who pitched a complete game, allowed the five runs on nine hits with no walks and six strikeouts.
Through game one, Northwest Arkansas had hit 18 home runs against Arkansas on the season (11 total games). The Travs as a team had 18 total home runs through 62 games.
2B Sherman Johnson led off game two with his fourth home run of the season into the bullpen in right field. The home run was Johnson's second longball to lead off a game & third at Arvest Ballpark.
After Naturals catcher Zane Evans blasted his fourth home run of the season off Travs starter RHP Chris Ellis (W, 1-0) in the second, Arkansas countered with a seven-run third inning.
In the third, 1B Wade Hinkle launched a three-run homerun to the top of the berm in right-center, and C Zach Wright and LF Drew Maggi hit back-to-back doubles.
The seven run inning was the fifth time this season Arkansas plated at least seven runs in one frame.
Ellis picked up his first Double-A victory with six strong innings of work. The 22-year-old allowed the run on seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Ellis' ERA over two starts for the Travs is 0.75.
RHP Greg Mahle worked a scoreless seventh to finish the game and secure the first victory for the Travelers against the Naturals in 12 attempts this season.
Naturals starter RHP Luke Farrell (L, 1-2) surrendered all eight runs over 2.2 innings of work.
Johnson and SS Eric Stamets had two hits apiece for Arkansas.
The Travs will begin a five-game-in-four-day series in Tulsa on Wednesday with a doubleheader scheduled for Thursday. First pitch on Wednesday at ONEOK Field is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.